Dear friends and supporters of Narmada Bachao Andolan,
The Gujarat government is still playing games on the Narmada issue.... being active in public relations and continuing to engage in defamatory tactics. This is clear from the latest from none else but Mr. P. K. Laheri, Chairman, Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Nigam i.e. S. S. Corporation in Gujarat. This is peculiar, but not the first and the last, move in the public relation strategy of the non-just, pro-dam but anti-people, anti-NBA lobby within Gujarat Government.
We know that after the long agitation and fast in Delhi (17th March to 17th April), there have been highly calculated efforts on the part of Gujarat's spokespersons including Mr. Jainarayan Vyas, former minister for Narmada, to counter the press and media support to NBA and its cause, accusing NBA of falsehood and malafide intentions. Our office in Baroda is still full of broken material, destroyed documents since the attack by BJP corporators as hooligans. And who can forget what Amir Khan faced and fought bravely? The same continues even today. Moreover, there is a planned propaganda through a series of articles in the Organizer, the mouthpiece of BJP, against NBA and Medha Patkar. In reality, the arguments to facts, much of what is written here is either wrong or distorted. There is also a courageous move by some corporate man to file utterly false case in the Supreme court, pretending that he has dug out highly explosive information which can blast NBA's and Medha Patkar's moral standing. In the said `Public Interest Litigation' interview, he has accused us of `sedition' for having questioned a project at various for a, crying halt to human injustice and ecological blunder, which has raised wider issues of democratic rights related to perverted development paradigm and projects to question - to question, challenge, stall those, may it be a large dam or SEZ! This petition, it is shocking, has been admitted by the Chief Justice of India and NBA is issued a notice through Medha Patkar to reply.
It is in this context that many of our eminent supporters, may be yourself too, have received a letter from P.K.Laheri which is enclosed herewith. Also enclosed is a reply by Dr. Manoranjan Mohanty, the well-known human rights defender and Shri Ramaswamy Iyer, the ex-Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources,GoI. Anand Patwardhan, the maker of famous and award winning documentary films, also received it but chose not to reply. Dr. Mohanty's prompt, confident and also assertive reply has only served to strengthen our commitment and struggle for truth. It is attached for your personal perusal. P. K. Laheri's letter is, however, a good representation of what have been the major planks of anti-NBA propaganda by a nexus of politicians and bureaucrats and hence we need to smash it, point by point, here and now.
Please refer to Mr. Laheri’s letter (given below) and our following reply based on the ground reality and knowledge of policy.
1. Mr. Laheri, at the outset, refuses to accept that there is any violation of rights of PAPs in the Sardar Sarovar Project.
- This is baseless. There is submergence faced without rehabilitation. We have lists and survey data on those hundreds of families affected by severe floods this year. In their case, the NWDTA, the legal provisions and preconditions therein stand violated. The same is true for the provision in law, land for land, when Madhya Pradesh Government has not offered cultivable land to any families. On the contrary, they have resorted to cash compensation in lieu of land against the policy, Tribunal Award (which is law) and Supreme Court judgments.
In Maharashtra, the government doesn't have adequate land to offer and allot to the remaining families declared as eligible and hence the legal violation is due to them. They have faced serious losses while rehabilitation with land is not in sight. At the rehabilitation sites too, there are problems of land records, land quality, land rights etc. due to which all the resettled are not rehabilitated.
In Gujarat, the private land purchased and allotted to families is not cultivable in many cases.
All this and more is legal violation, no doubt. If P.K. Laheri fails to see this, it is his fault, not NBA's.
Mr. Laheri’s denial on the main issue of relief and rehabilitation is nothing new and it is inconsistent with the affidavits filed by the State governments with the Supreme Court. It is nothing but a stark lie. We would indeed welcome you to verify the situation.
2. Mr. Laheri is deliberately confusing everyone in order to prove that we, the activists of NBA, have disseminated false information.
We not only recall but also reassert our statement that there are 35,000 (Thirty five thousand) families (and not thirty five thousand persons) mapped to be affected at the dam height of 121.92 meters. This is also confirmed from the official figures of the total number of PAPs put up on the website which is 51,000+ families (Note the sudden increase of 10,000 families) out of which, not more than a 10,000 are properly resettled; even if the figures of all those resettled from Maharashtra, Gujarat and a few hundreds from Madhya Pradesh are taken together. Most of the PAPs have not even received an entitlement, which is their justifiable right. Thus more than 40,000 families are still there in the submergence area of the full dam height. (FRL & MWL) Out of these, 35,000 are necessarily below 122 meters height of the dam and its backwaters level. A few thousand families are left out of the records although they are very much affected and so eligible for resettlement.
This is further confirmed from the report of the Oversight Group (OSG: Shunglu Committee) which is based on the survey of 25,000 families found in the original villages and interviewed by the National Sample Survey Teams. OSG could identify about 6,500 families, whose names are left out but are eligible to PAP status. In reality, there are thousands more who are not systematically identified and hence excluded from the list. These include owners of houses left out, lands not surveyed, major sons not listed, widows whose rights were denied, poor uneducated adivasis and other old cultivators who were not granted rights and termed as encroachers in most of the cases.
The official reports to the latest press statement of August 2006 by the Gujarat government have been reporting no PAFs balance in the state and that all are rehabilitated. The reality, however, is different. While most of them have shifted to the resettlement sites, bad lands infested with water-logging have compelled them to become laborers and claims of hundreds of families for good, cultivable land, for amenities etc. are still pending. A few hundreds are still in original villages, i.e. submergence area on the Narmada banks. In Maharashtra, the official monitoring agency, YASHADA, Pune also has reported more than 700 families in whose case, resettlement is not even initiated. Maharashtra is also flatly refusing to follow the Court's verdict (March 2005) that interprets the Narmada Tribunal Award and directs the government to allot 2 hectares of land to every major son considered as separate family.
Can P.K. Laheri counter this? Hasn't NBA furnished the list of those who are not rehabilitated? Of course yes! We have time and again submitted to various authorities, representative lists of hundreds of adivasis, farmers etc. from a number of villages who were affected at the dam height of 90 meters but not taken into account at all, at any stage.
This year, rainfall occurred in different parts of the valley, up stream and down stream, at different times and hence there was not much flooding in the thickly populated regions. Also, the construction of the dam was stopped at 119 meters instead of 122 meters, which made much difference for the plains. What Laheri is now doing, misinterpreting facts, is a part of campaign and conspiracy.
3. When we say that 35,000 families are affected but not rehabilitated at the dam height of 121.92 meters, it means that they are yet to receive any one or many of their rightful entitlements and yet to be resettled with alternative source of livelihood and they have not shifted to the rehabilitation site. Out of these 1000+ families have lost livelihoods.
Also, submergence due to any height of the dam includes backwater effects, which is up to a much higher level than the actual dam height. The estimated BWL of 121.92 meters height is beyond 136 meters. The water column generally reaches a much higher level than the dam height for example, in 2004, when the dam height was at 110 meters, the level of the backwaters had already reached 119 meters. Back water level is to be presumed and the official maps have a submergence line drawn based on the same. The number of families to be affected in that area is counted accordingly. NBA has followed the same method while arriving at the figures of those likely to be affected.
4. The claim that only 200 families sought temporary shelter, during this monsoon as they did not move to the newly allotted house sites, made by the government of Madhya Pradesh and endorsed as well as used by the Chairman of Sardar Sarovar Nigam, is again a distortion.
Government of Madhya Pradesh has shown 4 crores of rupees budgeted and spent on arrangements for the relief work which too indicate that Government of Madhya Pradesh also knew the risk of thousands of families getting affected.
Indeed, only 200 families in Madhya Pradesh sought temporary shelters that too for a short period of time. The reason for this was that in the Jhabua and Badwani districts, adivasis in the hilly region picked up their shattered house material, while some of those flew with the dam waters. They built smaller shades and houses for themselves at a higher plane. There was no relief and rehabilitation site for them. Not a single house plot is planned for them by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. No cultivable land is offered to them in Madhya Pradesh itself. Many felt cheated at the rehabilitation sites in Gujarat and returned to the Valley soon thereafter. They are yet to shift and get rehabilitated. Some of these villages had relief sub-camps arranged by the Government. One quintal of grains was provided in village with hundred families, which was the most inadequate hence, they didn't touch the grain. Relief was offered only to those families who lost houses and not to those who lost land; either this year or earlier. Most of the adivasis laughed at this irrational policy and expressed anguish. A multipurpose health worker was sent to a few villages that too only for a few days. They were equipped with some medicines, which did not include anti-snake venom. A doctor who was appointed for the relief camps was not accessible to most of the villages. With roaring waters of the reservoir and mechanized boats not easily available, `Relief' much publicized was a mere joke. Those who lost everything were provided immediate assistance by NBA and all those who lost their crop were also helped through `Jansahayog' by appealing to our supporters/donors. It's NBA who had to appeal and raise support in order to feed hundreds of adivasi families who were, and still are, in dire need of food grains as well as fishing material.
In the plains of Nimad, where a few hundred houses and land of about four hundred families got affected, instead of shifting in the non-livable condition, dampened tin sheds with no ventilators, they preferred to stay with their community brethren. It was certainly a much smaller number for merely a few days since the submergence didn't affect all in the affected area of 119 meters of dam height.
Laheri, like the Gujarat Government, too has made a vague statement (which is nothing new) on the benefits of the project. He has avoided stating the facts in this regard as well. The people should know that.
1. In spite of 119 meters of dam height and a 128 meter high water column in the reservoir, much of the water was not, rather could not be released in the canals almost throughout this monsoon. This was because there was a risk of villages of the canal banks getting affected due to canal breaches and siphoning problems as it happened in the past in 2003 and 2004. This year, much more was expected, rather feared due to the heavy rainfall.
2. The Government of Gujarat has not yet declared the actual irrigation achieved so far. One has to read the reports of `Pravah' and `Tata- IWMI', the research units in Gujarat, which show the irrigation as well as water benefits attained - 10 to 20% - which are much below the projected figures. As per the official claims, the expanse of irrigation at 110 meters of dam height was to be 55,000 acres. Drinking water was to be supplied to all needy villages and there would be no water crisis ever, as per the official propaganda. In reality, studies show that only 10% of 1500 villages which the government had announced to be the beneficiaries, actually received it; that too not quite regularly. Not the rest.
3. The people from Kutchh had to approach Supreme Court questioning the undue sharing of water to others and much less to them. The dam has always been pushed ahead in the name of the same people from Kutchh.
4. The information from official sources show that only 3% of the expected hydel power generation occurred in Gujarat, while a maximum of 16% in SSP till June 2005. This is shockingly low. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh hardly got any power (the only benefit) from this dam while it was expected to flow and solve power problems in the state, once dam reached 110 meters, we were told. No post facto review, no monitoring, makes it easy for only `Power Politics ' to flow !!
Laheri couldn't stop at this! He has also resorted to flimsy and fictitious allegations of NBA receiving funds from "dubious" Sources. There is nothing new in this and it has obviously come from the litigations filed by a corporate person on a mission of "Defaming NBA". We have replied to his fake accusations, including that of NBA training adivasis for armed struggle (militancy); that of NBA receiving funds through the accounts of an activist, Rahul Banerjee and his wife, (this couple have never been NBA activists), that of NBA being violent, beating and stripping officials; and of 'sedition' for questioning a project and stalling it, demanding a CBI inquiry.
We have replied to the same through affidavit in the Supreme Court and our case against a peculiar organisation from Gujarat named National Council of Civil Liberties. The NCCL is represented by one Mr V.K. Saxena, who is an accused in a case related to the physical and violent attack on Medha Patkar in Sabarmati Ashram soon after the Gujarat riots. Our lawyers Sanjay Parikh, Prashant Bhushan and Anand Grover are working to defend us in the defamatory case. Advocate Indira Jaising will plead the above mentioned "Public Interest Litigation" in the Supreme court.
Why do Laheri and Modi Government of Gujarat keep slinging mud on NBA? Why do the politicians of Gujarat attack NBA? The fact is that they cannot fight on the real issues, nor can they tolerate our moral standing and gaining more and more support. They would like to smash and kill us but we know, you are with us and millions of people in the country too. Please stand by truth!
Narmada Bachao Andolan
Letter by P K Laheri
Dear Prof. Mohanty,
I saw a news item on the website of Hindu newspaper dated 11th August 2006. The news item attributes a statement to you alleging violation of rights of Project Affected families of Sardar Sarovar Dam. This allegation is not true. You need to verify the situation. It has deeply pained us to see your name associated with a campaign which has sustained itself on false information. You may vividly recall statements of a leader of so called Narmada Bachao Andolan that 35,000 people would get drowned when the height of Sardar Sarovar Dam is raised to 121.92 Meters. The water level at Sardar Sarovar reached 128 Meters during the flood on 7th August 2006. I have checked up with Government of Madhya Pradesh a well as from the people staying in the affected areas that less than 200 families have sought temporary shelter as they did not move to the newly allotted house sites.
Government of Madhya Pradesh has provided a package of relief and rehabilitation quite adequately and properly. NBA is not concerned with R&R but is using it as camouflage to oppose any large dams. Since you are concerned citizen, it is time for you to do little bit of introspection. It is an occasion when you have to consider whether your name and prestige should be associated with an anti-development campaign funded from dubious sources. In view of the fact that the claims of Narmada Bachao Andolan have found to be totally baseless, I call upon you to come forward and accept the reality. The truth is that
NBA has always exaggerated figures and made baseless statements to stop construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam. This large dam is giving much needed water and energy to the Nation. You have been misled in the past and it is the time to come out in favour of the truth.
I am confident that you will appreciate the situation and withdraw your name from this campaign based on deliberate disinformation and ulterior motives.
With kind regards,
(P. K. LAHERI)
Reply to Laheri by Dr Mohanty
From: Dr. Mohanty < email@example.com>
To: Pravin Laheri
Date: Sep 20, 2006 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: News item appeared in Hindu dated 11/8/2006 "Eminent persons express......Narmada valley situation"
Dear Mr Laheri,
I fully stand by my statement. Of course we are equally concerned with the need for dringking water and irrigation facilities for the dry land region of Gujarat. Many alternative proposals have been suggested for that which have not been considered seriously by the leaders.
Please do not dismiss the NBA statements as baseless. It has gone into the detailed cases of rehabilitation and given its critique of the Shunglu report. In the past the supreme court has acknowledged several of their submissions.
I do hope the governments will refrain from raising the height of Narmada dam further, concentrate on rehabilitation of the already or about to-be displaced persons and pay more urgent attention to building the canals and channels for a fair distribution of the dam water among poorer sections.
We need patient dialogue and not acrimonious exchanges.
With kind regards,
Reply to Laheri by Ramaswamy Iyer
Dear Shri Laheri,
Thank you very much for writing to me. You have paid me the compliment of taking me seriously, and I owe you a carefully considered reply.
I seem to have missed the news item in The Hindu of 11/8/06, but that does not really matter. I know what NBA has been saying and I note what you have to say about it. Your appreciation of NBA and its campaign is very familiar: `deliberate disinformation', `ulterior motives', `not really concerned about R&R, but opposing dams in general', `telling lies', etc. You might have gone further and added `publicity-seeking', `anti-national', foreign-funded', and so on. That is the general picture of NBA in the Indian Water Establishment circles. I consider this a completely wrong picture. In fact, it is grotesquely wide of the mark. There has been a deliberate demonization of Medha Patkar and NBA by some (the driving force being the Gujarat Goverment, regardless of party affiliations); and others in the Establishment or `mainstream' have come to accept it. My own understanding of NBA, what it stands for, what it has done, and so on, is entirely different. Large numbers of people outside the Water Establishment circles, including many who do not entirely agree with Medha Patkar's views, hold her personally in great respect and consider the NBA one of the most important mass movements of our times. I share those views. It is very strange that the Indian Water Establishment has no idea of how widespread these views are, and has never considered the possibility that its own views could be wrong and others could be right. Their myopia seems incredible. (On the part of some, it is not myopia at all, but a deliberate attempt to destroy someone who is perceived as the Enemy.)
Leaving the general appreciation of NBA and Medha Patkar aside, the recent phase of the movement from April 2006 onwards has been about the status of rehabilitation, and the correctness of the decision to raise the height of the dam from 110 m to 121 m - not about the merits of SSP as a project, or about dams in general. On this, I have to say that the truth is by and large on NBA's side. Some of their numbers may be open to question, but their general assessment that rehabilitation is deficient, incomplete and lagging behind construction is indisputable. Their assessment was broadly corroborated by the report of the Group of Ministers. That Group had no particular axe to grind. They did a quick job, but there is no basis for questioning their motivations or the soundness of their overall assessment. What needed to be done was clear: suspend construction temporarily, do whatever needed to be done on the rehabilitation front, and then resume construction. Unfortunately, the Government chose to disown their own GoM in court. They proceeded to set up a thoroughly unnecessary Oversight Group. It was a disingenuous act. This was clear from the composition of the Group. One knew what to expect from a Group so constituted, and sure enough, it produced a shoddy, irresponsible, indefensible document. NBA has produced a powerful critique of the OSG Report. The findings of another group (from the Council for Social Development and JNU) also go to undermine the OSG Report.
I have written about these matters at great length and do not propose to repeat myself here. If you are genuinely interested in what I think about these matters and are willing to spare the time, you could look at the following:
(1) On the question of large dams in general, the whole of Section III (`Large Dams') and Chapter 25 `The Dilemmas of Water Resource Development') in Section VI of my book `Water Perspectives, Issues, Concerns', Sage, 2003.
Also, an interview in the ADB journal Water For All News, Section titled `Water Champions'
(2) On the current controversy over SSP rehabilitation, a number of articles:
`Narmada Project: The Points at Issue’, The Hindu, 13 April 2006.
`Narmada Project: Clearing the Confusion’, The Hindu, 17 April 2006.
`Does Development Entail Deprivation?’, The Economic Times, Perspectives, 25 April 2006.
`Narmada: The Cost of Delaying Rehabilitation’, The Hindu, 1 May 2006.
`Abandoning the Displaced’, The Hindu, 10 May 2006.
`Narmada Rehabilitation: OSG Report and After’, The Hindu, 1 August 2006.
I apologise for presuming to ask you to do so much reading. You are of course not obliged to. However, as your communication seems to imply that I have associated myself with undesirable groups and their false statements and campaign of disinformation, I thought that it was necessary to give you some evidence to show that much care and work go into whatever I write. May I respectfully request you to suspend your long-held opinions for awhile, think about what I have to say, and then reject it or modify your views?
Ramaswamy R. Iyer
A-10, Sarita Vihar
New Delhi 110076
Tel: 91 11 26940708, 26972454
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Oustees are ready to face inhuman and unconstitutional submergence
Jal Satyagrah in Upper Beda from 3rd August and in Indira Sagar from 15th August
The people affected by the Indira Sagar and Upper Beda Projects in Narmada Valley have announced Jal Satyagrah against the coming submergence in different parts of the valley. It maybe noted that Indira Sagar Project has the largest reservoir in India and second largest in Asia. Upper Beda is a major project to be built on the river Beda, a tributary of river Narmada. Satyagrah will commence in village Sonud of Upper Beda Project and villages Donglighat, Gahelgaon and Surlai of Indira Sagar Project, against the inhuman and unconstitutional submergence of lands and homes without rehabilitation. The villagers challenge the Government and the project authority NHDC that they are prepared to face the submergence and will drown if need be, but not flee.
SATYAGRAH IN UPPER BEDA PROJECT FROM 3rd AUGUST
It is to be noted that land and homes in many villages are being submerged without any prior acquisition and rehabilitation in flagrant violation of the Rehabilitation Policy of the dams being built in Narmada Valley. 14 tribal and banjara villages of Upper Beda Project are in submergence. In spite of the fact that rehabilitation policy of the Government of Madhya Pradesh and clearance from Ministry of Welfare requires that landholders, encroachers, adult sons and landless be provided agricultural land, not a single family has been provided land. Not even one rehabilitation site has been prepared or provided to any oustee, yet submergence is slated within a few days of this very monsoon. After the increase of height of the dam to 305 meter this year, there is every possibility of submergence of backwater level up to 312 meters. On one hand the villages Sonud, Khamid etc getting affected at this height are not rehabilitated and on the other, land acquisition of 115 families of village Palda has not yet been commenced.
The 'Jal Satyagrah' will start in village Sonud of this affected area from 3rd August. People will participate from all over to show solidarity with tribals who are cruelly and callously been fraught to be flooded out from their homes and land without rehabilitation by State Government.
SATYAGRAH TO COMMENCE IN 3 DISTRICTS OF INDIRA SAGAR PROJECT
It may be pointed out that thousands of families of Indira Sagar Project are yet to be rehabilitated and entitlements, even decided by High Court, are yet to be provided by Government. 'Jal Satyagrah' is declared in 3 places of districts Harda, Khandwa and Dewas of the affected area.
SATYAGRAH WILL COMMENCE IN VILLAGE DONGLIGHAT OF DISTRICT HARDA ON 15th AUGUST
It may be noted that houses of 80 families of Donglighat phaliya of villages of Pachola and Jhalwa faced submergence last monsoon itself and district administration even paid damages for this. However even till today they have not been identified as affected families and are being denied their legitimate house compensation and other R & R entitlements. The 'Jal Satyagrah' will be started in Donglighat on 15th August, the Independence Day.
SATYAGRAH WILL COMMENCE IN VILLAGE GAHELGAON OF DISTRICT KHANDWA ON 16th AUGUST
It may be pointed out that 187 families residing in 130 houses of Gahelgaon village of district Khandwa were excluded even after survey, even though water had approached close to their houses last year itself. They will be submerged if water level rises any further. The 'Jal Satyagrah' will be started in Gahelgaon on 16th August.
SATYAGRAH WILL COMMENCE IN VILLAGE SURLAI OF DISTRICT DEWAS ON 17th AUGUST
It may be noted that over 100 houses of affected village Surlai of Indira Sagar Project are arbitrarily excluded. Satyagrah will start from 17th August in this village.
Hundreds of houses of affected areas of Indira Sagar Project are excluded and thousands are yet to be rehabilitated. The people of Narmada Valley have taken the resolve of Satyagrah against this injustice and willful and deliberate failure of State and NHDC to rehabilitate the villagers before submergence.
It may be mentioned that in last two years people had to undertake Satyagrah in Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar areas against the unconstitutional submergence by the State Government and NHDC. Last year people of village Gunjari of Omkareshwar Project stood in water for 8 days. Similarly in 2006, women of village Karanpura and Junapani of Indira Sagar Project continuously stood in water reaching up to their shoulders for 10 days.
NO SUBMERGANCE BEFORE REHABILITATION
All the affected and eligible farmers of Narmada Valley demand firmly that they should be provided land for land and other rehabilitation entitlements according to the Rehabilitation Policy, various clearances from Government of India and orders of High Court and Supreme Court. It is clear that only after that it may be permitted to fill the reservoirs. The people have vowed to face the submergence to be brought by State and NHDC which is based on force, falsehood and fraud. The oustees of the Narmada Valley and representatives of many organizations and other noted persons from state and nation will take part in these Satyagrahs with the steely determination to face the rising waters.
NBA calls on all people's organizations, women organizations, tribal and village organizations, youth and student organizations and other concerned individuals from all walks of life to show solidarity in this endeavor, to support and strengthen the struggle, and be with us in this hour of need.
It may be noted that on 10th and 11th of July, thousands of people of Maheshwar, Maan, Beda, Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar and Bargi projects marched in Bhopal and warned the Government and project authorities that they will intensify their struggle if their legitimate demands are not met. Now in this phase through Satyagrah they are bringing the struggle to a stage of do or die.
Alok Agarwal, Chittaroopa Palit, Daluji, Kanhaiyalalji, Mangilalbhai, Raisingh bhai, Ramkuar Rawat, Bhagwanbhai
Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk, Khandwa, M.P
Tel: 0733-2228418, 945-259-28007
Press Note, 2nd August, 2008
'Jal Satyagrah' in Narmada Valley
*Medha on fast in Indore jail *
NEW DELHI: Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, who is lodged in the Indore jail for the last seven days for launching an agitation seeking "land for land" for villagers displaced by the Narmada dam, has gone on a protest fast.
Ms. Patkar, along with 90 others, was arrested in Badwani last week. Most of the villagers and adivasis were granted bail after four to five days. Hundreds of adivasis and farmers were present in the Badwani court and its premises on Wednesday when Ms. Patkar was produced in the court. She is scheduled to appear in the court again on August 3 in another case pertaining to 2002 in which she is charged with causing damage to Government property and injuries to officials.
"It is a matter of shame that such unbelievable and audacious charges are
being framed against Medha Patkar by the Government. It is now clear that
the authorities are eager to ensure that she remains in jail for as long as
possible, in yet another desperate attempt to repress the Narmada Bachao
Andolan," said NBA member Clifton Rozario.
The "zameen hak satyagraha" (Right to Land), which began on July 13 with
land occupation in Taloon in Badwani, followed by the arrest of protesters
on July 25, is continuing.
The women, who were released from the Indore jail on July 31, along with
others, protested in front of the Badwani Police Station. They have filed a
complaint seeking action against the police for the alleged atrocities
committed against women during the arrest.
THE INDEFINITE HUNGER STRIKE ENTERS ITS 14th DAY : THE CONDITIONS OF THE HUNGER STRIKERS DETERIORATE
HIGH COURT TO HEAR GUNJARI ISSUE ON 22 JUNE
SOME MORE VILLAGES ARE IN DANGER
The Narmada Bachao Andolan has filed a special Application in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh against the submergence of village Gunjari without land acquisition and rehabilitation. The Application mentions the false Affidavit submitted by NHDC and the state government and demands land acquisition and all rehabilitation facilities for all the 22 families of Gunjari. The Application also demands damages for this unslated submergence. The Application further demands, that the water level of the dam be reduced. After preliminary hearing of the application the high court has asked the state government and NHDC to file their reply within two days. On Friday the 22nd the high court will take up this matter again.
The Jal Satyagrah in Gunjari continues. Ten women are sitting on this Satyagrah in the rising waters.
In an other Application submitted to the High Court the NBA has demanded that the activities related to withdrawal of electricity, water supply and other civic amenities in the submergence areas be stopped. The hearing took place before the division bench of Chief justice Anang Kumar Patnayak and Justice Shri Ajit Singh. Advocate R N Singh Pleaded the case on behalf of the State of MP and NHDC, while senior activist Ms Chittaroopa Palit pleaded on behalf of Narmada Bachao Andolan. Ms Chittaroopa Palit is also on the fourteenth day of her indefinite hunger strike.
Due the rising level of water in the Omkarehwar dam, after Gunjari four more villages have come under danger. In Kelwa Bujurg, 115 tribal households of Jiroth Phaliya lost their land due to submergence without any compensation and the village has surrounded by water form three sides. This has caused an acute crisis for food and other services. Kaman Kheda village has lost its connectivity to the Punasa Marg. More than half of the farmers this village are unable to farm on their land under these conditions. In Dewas district the main road to village Guwadi and Premargh have been cut off. These tribal villages are now cut off from other villages.
Omkareswar and Indira Sagar dam affected people have been sitting on their indefinite Dharna at the district headquarters in Khandwa demanding their rights. Today is the 16th day of the dhrana. 4000 people continue to sit on this Dhrana for their rights in spite of the rain and storms that have been lashing the region. The Five people which include Indira Sagar affected Suraj Bai and Krishna Bai, Omkareshwar affected Ashok Chaturvedi and senior NBA activist Chittaroopa Palit and Bhagwan Mukati, entered the 14th day of their indefinite hunger strike. The health of all these people is deteriorating and they are continuously loosing weight.
16th day of the indefinite hunger strike
Jiroth Phaliya surrounded by water and deprived of food and drinking water supplies
Hundreds of acres of land submerges without any compensation
Gunjari Satyagraha continues
On the eighteenth day of the dharna of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dam affected people in Khandwa, the people were upbeat in their resolve and belief that they will attain justice. The indefinite hunger strike of five people - senior activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan Bhagwan Mukati and Chittaroopa Palit, Indira Sagar affected Krishna Bai and Suraj Bai, and Omkareshwar dam affected Ashok Chaturvedi entered its 16th day today. The health of these hunger strikers is now deteriorating, but their morale is very high and resolve very strong.
Due to filling of water in the Omkareshwar dam reservoir upto a level of 189 metres, the Jiroth Phaliya of village Kelwa Bujurg has been surrounded by water from three sides. The 115 families still living in this phaliya are now facing acute shortage of food supplies and potable water. These families have been living in this area for over 30 years and do farming. According to the rehabilitation policy of MP, all families tilling land from before 1987 were considered equal to landed farmers and were to be given 5.5 acres of land as rehabilitation. But in blatant violation of the rehabilitation policy the 450 acres of land that these families were tilling has been submerged without any rehabilitation. In this way the only source of their income has been cut short.
Not only that, since all the important roads to this phaliya are deluged by the dam waters, the people are unable to go out to earn or even purchase things of daily use. The dam waters are only one metre away from this phaliya. With the oncoming monsoon, the water in nearby rivers Ajnal and Kaveri will also rise and there will be no way left for the families in this phaliya to save their lives. The administration has also not made any arrangements to face this situation.
The Jal-satyagraha in Gunjari village that was started to bring to the notice of the administration the plight of the affected families continues on its 8th day today. The hearing of the appeal filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan in this matter will be heard tomorrow, on the 22nd June 2007 in the Jabalpur bench of the High Court.
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
62 Gandhi Marg, Badwani, M.P. Ph. 07290-222464, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Dhadgaon, Nandurbar, Maharashtra. Ph: 02595-220620
C/o B-13, Shivam Flats, Ellora Park, Vadodara -390023, 0265-2282232 email@example.com
December 27, 2006
Two lakh people, adivasis and farmers, from the narmada valley cry halt to destruction.
It’s more than shocking that gujarat, in connivance with the other states, M.P., Rajasthan & Maharashtra, as also with no monitoring from the centre, has raised the height of Sardar Sarovar dam to 122 metres. They are also building a foundation for the gates to be put up between 122 & 138 mts, even when there are at least 35,000 families (1.75 lakh people) still residing in the submergence area of 122 mts & more than 40,000 families (2 lakh people) in the area to be affected at 138.68 mts, the full height.
The struggle of last 21 years and the long battle in delhi (march to may 2006), the much trumpetted survey by the pm appointed shungulu committee (oversight group), our critique of the same, is known to you all. when the shungulu committee’s report was submitted to the supreme court, the prime minister himself had stated through a report that dam construction (stopped at 119 mts, in july) would not commence without a review of resettlement and rehabilitation, in october.
No real review of the ground level situation was ever carried out. the r&r subgroup of narmada control authority (inter-state) has not visited the valley since 2000, till date. nca chaired by the secretary, water resources, at the centre, does not monitor r&r. all false reports, fake registries showing land purchase, incomplete record of oustees; betrayal & criminal act of submerging adivasi lands & houses in madhya pradesh and maharashtra till 2006, is neither truthfully reported, nor taken cognisance of. both madhya pradesh (with thousands – about 10,000 families eligible for land) and maharashtra (at least 1000 and more adivasi families) not rehabilitated with cultivable, irrigable land, is violation of law, sc judgements, promises, propoganda and affidavits on oath. these governments don’t even offer good, cultivable land and hundreds of adivasi families in gujarat stand cheated due to bad, uncultivable land allotted.
It’s a total betrayal and a clear message for all adivasis, farmers, fishworkers, labourers and urban poor to traders; all who are being promised rehabilitation only to be ousted, forcibly evicted in the name of development. while the lakhs of people in narmada valley who continue to stay put in the area to be flooded and already flooded, when the dam waters are far from being effectively utilized to satiate the thirst of the needy, when 40,000 crores worth sardar sarovar project is not proved to be the solution to the gujarat’s water or m.p. – maharashtra’s power crisis, when crores of rupees worth compensation and r&r funds are pocketted by corrupt officials and leaders, the struggle has to continue, challenging no rehabilitation for sardar sarovar affected, asserting no more displacement.
Before all adivasis, large and small villages, townships, houses - pakka & kachcha, schools, dispensaries; temples & mosques; shops & markets; lakhs & lakhs of trees of neem, teak, mango, anjan, mahua, chironji, amla, ber, what not; best of agricultural land in nimad with record agri-produce (wheat, cotton, soya, sugarcane, papaya, banana, oranges & lemons, all fruits…) and in satpuda-vindhyas with jowar (millet), makkai (maize), sesame, hilly millets; everything in this oldest of the civilisations in the world, narmada valley, is drowned.
The submergence, you know, would be up to 214 kms long area (i.e. mumbai to nashik or delhi to agra & beyond)…& will bring devastation, not rehabilitation.
Do act with the urgency & commitment as ever –
• Plan demonstrations, link with actions, including ‘no more displacement' day – January 2nd, the day of kalinga nagar killings.
• Write strongest possible letters to pm, sonia gandhi, mr. soz, minister of water resources, challenging the criminal act, illegal decision & the project with uncertain benefits - 10% of the promised, unjust distribution against needy & thirsty, which must be stopped.
• Join us in action: jan 2nd - at new delhi.
• Question violation of law, rehabilitation policy & value of justice; impingement upon right to life and livelihood; distorted water management.
• Write articles in the wider context too
yogini khanolkar, kailash awasia, ashish mandloi, medha patkar
contact no: yogini khanolkar – 09423944390
rajendra ravi – 09868206316
ashish mandloi – 09993449644
medha patkar – 09869446684
Excerpts from the Judgment given far below)
12 July 2007
You must have already heard of and read the news of the Supreme Court judgment passed on 10th July, dismissing the petition by National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), a Gujarat based NGO, against the Andolan. The allegations included that of illegal funding, being foreign stooges, and misusing foreign funds for destabilizing and anti-National activities as well as sedition. The court's judgment has categorically condemned the petition to be vague and making baseless accusation. These allegations were publicly made by the same petitioner i.e. NCCL, through various newspaper advertisements all over the country since last many years. Hence the judgment has indeed indicated NBA's honest position and commitment against the vilification campaign.
This, we know, would not have been possible without supportive action by eminent persons and organisations including yourself and the committed and effective pleading by our advocates Indira Jaisingh-ji and Sanjay Parikh-ji. The court, while dismissing the case, concluded it to be not a public purpose but a private purpose litigation. It has upheld the case of the project-displaced persons raised by NBA and refused to concede to the demand for CBI enquiry, since there is nothing anti-national found in NBA's activities, proved through the petition, or illegality in funding established. This victory, moral as also political, in the larger sense of the term, has come to us, in support of not just NBA but all people's movements.
When the petitioners raised a tricky issue of NBA challenging development projects and the state, the judgment has declared the cause to be legitimate and not anti-national. This will, no doubt, strengthen people's struggles questioning the vision, problems and the backlash of development, in the framework of human rights and civil liberties.
Many organisations, eminent individual, supporters stood by us during the testing times, many issued statements, wrote personal letters in support, condemned the defamatory campaign openly (since 2000) all of which gave us enormous strength and confidence to face the immoral attack. Since the physical onslaught at Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat (2002), the attackers were making dictated statements to instill a doubt in the minds of common people, our supporters as well as international awarding organisations. The latter were written to and questioned even when NBA has never accepted many of international awards, but only the felicitation and certificates.
When movements are facing multiple challenges on behalf of the State, when people's strength is being repressed and their views on development - just and sustainable- undermined, peripheralised, even condemned, when the corporate-political nexus is up with all tools and weapons, either to push their own development agenda or to suppress the alternatives, this judgment would go a long way. We will remain together as always and fight battles for truth and justice.
DO COME TO THE NARMADA VALLEY
Satyagraha begins in adivasi village, Chimalkhedi, (Nandurbar district, Maharashtra) on the Narmada bank in Maharashtra, from July 17th. The water level in Narmada is rising and currently at least 200 villages are under the threat of submergence due to Sardar Sarovar Project. People affected by Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams are already on the streets, since last 40 days, and the fast by Chittaroopa Palit and Bhagwan Mukati has entered 36th day. For the reasonable demands of rehabilitation to be met in this context, your support in every way is most valuable and necessary. We shall look towards a new paradigm of equitable development. No submergence and displacement without rehabilitation, a comprehensive enactment of just development.
Ashish Mandloi, Yogini Khanolkar, Kailash Awasya, Medha Patkar
RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE JUDGMENT is given below which speaks for itself. Please make use of this judgment for writing and reference. The full judgment will soon be available at www.narmada.org
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.69 OF 2006
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES …..Petitioner
UNION OF INDIA & ORS. ……..Respondents
J U D G M E N T
ALTAMAS KABIR, J.
..…31. Both the Union of India and State of Madhya Pradesh had little to add and they relied on the affidavits filed on the behalf in the proceedings. In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Union of India, it has been generally stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs in its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act Division had not granted permission to the respondent N0.4 or certain organizations named in the writ petition to receive foreign funds. However, it has also been categorically stated that an inspection was carried out in terms of Section 14. of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 into the books of accounts of among others the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh in 2002 and the same did not reveal any instance of violation of the aforesaid Act. A similar enquiry had also been conducted in 2000 and then also no such violation had been detected, The said information was conveyed to the Chief Minister of Gujarat by the Minister of State Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India, by letter dated 26th August, 2003. The contents of the said, letter has been made annexure R-1-1 to the affidavit affirmed on behalf of the Union of India and reads as follows-
“Kindly refer to your letter N0. CMS}GO1) 150 dated the 27 September, 2001 addressed to the Hon’ble Dy, P.M. regarding alleged violation of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 by the functionaries of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).
This matter was investigated in some detail under the provision of the said Act. The accounts records of the NBA and a number of NGO associated with it were inspected but no specific instance of any violation of FCRA, 1976 was detected.”
32. In the affidavit affirmed on behalf of the State of Madhya Pradesh, it has been stated that existing laws were sufficient to take care of the reliefs claimed, by the writ petitioner and appropriate action under the existing laws had already been undertaken.
33. Having heard the learned counsel for the respective parties and having considered the materials on record. We are of the view that although ordinarily in a case like this a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution would be maintainable, in the facts of this case the writ petition does not call any interference by this Court. The various decisions cited by counsel on both sides indicate in what circumstances public interest litigation may be entertained by the Courts. We share the same views. We are also of the view that public interest litigation may be entertained when an issue of great public importance is involved, but not to settle private scores as was held in Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware’s case (supra). Furthermore, in an application under Article 32 of the Constitution there must be an element of infraction of one or the other fundamental rights contained in Part III of the Constitution. Although, the writ petition has attempted to show that the writ petition had been filed for the benefit of the people of the States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the facts as sought to be projected clearly indicate that the writ petition has been filed out of grudge harboured by Shri Saxena against Smt. Medha Patkar. Except for vague allegations regarding receipt of foreign funds by the respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6 and their alleged use for subversive activities, none of the allegations have any evidentiary value as they are unsupported by any evidence as such. There is no material on record to show that foreign funds have, in fact, been received by the respondent No.5 or that the same had been misutilized for subversive activities of an anti-national character. On the other hand, there is evidence to show that certain monetary awards had been received jointly by the respondent No. 5 and Baba Amte which had been vested in a trust which had no connection with the activities of the respondent No. 5. In fact, the writ petition appears to have been filed as a fishing exercise to try and procure evidence against the said respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6. Having seen the annexures to the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondent No. 5, we are inclined to accept Ms. Indira Jaising’s submissions that Shri Saxena had a private grudge against Smt. Medha Patkar file the writ petition and not in the public interest as claimed by him.
34. The respondent No.6 has been introduced in the writ petition to malign the respondent Nos. 4 and 5 by making allegations of subversive activities against the respondent no. 6 and trying to establish a link between the respondent No. 6 and Smt. Medha Patkar to her discredit. There is no direct evidence of any kind of subversive activity allegedly engaged in by the Narmada Bachao Andolan which could be said to be anti-national. On the other hand, the respondent No.5 appears to be genuinely concerned with the rehabilitation of the tribals and the other habitats of the submerged areas in keeping with the decision of this Court that the rehabilitation programme should be completed before submergence of the areas which were inhabited by them.
35. Although, the writ petition has been shown to have been filed to protect the interest of the people of the three States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, except for Shri Saxena representing the writ petitioner association, there is no other individual who has been impleaded as petitioner to support such an argument. Although, the writ petition is alleged to be in the nature of a public interest litigation, the same appears to be a ‘private interest litigation’ to discredit and diffuse the agitation undertaken by the respondent No. 5 for rehabilitation of the displaced persons from the dam site before submergence of their habitat.
36. In our view, the materials in the writ petition consist only of vague allegations without any proper foundation. No case has therefore been made for a direction to the CBI to investigate into the said allegations.
37. Having regard to the view taken by us we do not intend to separately deal with the decisions cited on behalf of the respective parties.
38. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed with costs assessed at Rs. 5,000/-.
July 10, 2007
Here is a note wishing the Andolan and all its co travellers all the best for the next 100 years. As the moon shines on them, so does the solidarity from supporters... far away.
The grammar may be wrong... And the verse without rhyme... but these are thoughts that come to my mind and I am sorry its sooo... long.
An ode to the Andolan
25 years of the Andolan,
25 years in Narmada’s life,
25 years of consistent challenge,
Keeping hope amidst encircling strife
Challenging misguided plans, deceptive promises,
Questioning at once many fundamental premises
Of destruction as development, and scale of measurement,
Of practicing displacement promising development,
Of exploiting nature and peoples predicament.
The simple people born of the Narmada
Created a modern river valley civilisation
Living simply lives of dignity
Demonstrating cultures of justice and simplicity,
Setting standards and patterns in life and living.
‘Koi nahi hatega, Bandh nahi banega,
These are six simple words,
But when said together, in this order,
It takes us to the banks of the Narmada,
And the Andolan it inspires.
Short and straight, it touches both heart and mind,
And leaves no doubt on intentions or claims.
‘Narmada ki ghaati mein ab ladaayi jaari hai
chalo utho chalo utho rokna vinaas hai’
From Harsud in ‘89, to Dhadgoan and Badwani today,
These words are etched deep,
In a million hearts and minds.
Be it in Badwani or Berkeley,
Mangaleshwar or Maryland,
The Netherlands or gods own land,
These lines need not be translated,
And the voice behind each word heard.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan, the NBA,
Is a community that has made clear,
That you don’t need to be the state,
To survive, grow and renew faith.
For people who are generous and care.
People with a vision big enough to share.
Their ideas, they take a life of their own,
More effectively, than any military operation.
It can liberate sometimes few, and at times a generation.
Accompanying communities in all their lively deliberation,
Taking life and death, both in their stride and celebration,
As that’s the a cycle of nature and creation.
Dear Sanjay and Baba Amte,
We carry forth your wishes,
In the valley that shares your ambition,
And cares for your hopes and tradition.
The Narmada gave birth, and nurtured many a community,
Tribal, industrial, agricultural and philosophical,
But now on, it will be best known for the Andolan,
And the culture to protest injustice and exploitation. .
The NBA community has spread far and wide,
From the river banks to the coast,
From the village to the city,
From the state to the nation,
And the global village.
It has gathered ideas and people,
Shared passion and strength.
From academics, students to teachers,
Philosophers and preachers,
Writers and politicians,
Engineers and doctors,
The people of the valley, the Andolan,
Has welcomed one and all.
All are respected and expected,
To give what they can,
To share what they have,
And take what they need.
Like the Narmada, the Andolan too,
Sometimes flows as a stream,
Small and brisk, like a river just born, .
Running along steep slopes and mountains,
But now and then it has gathers strength,
Meandering with the grace,
Cruising towards new beginnings and ends.
The river valley lives on,
And so do its people,
With pride and dignity.
For they have survived against great odds,
Won a few battles, and are ready for those to come,
As the struggle for justice are not one,
But have to be won many times over,
Till all humanity and life is on one side,
On the other side there none.
II The ‘big family’ secret
The gathering today bears witness to rich experiences,
For those who are with struggles, and struggling to move on.
To be generous in struggle is easier said than done,
To share credit and remember to name,
To ask and appreciate,
Both the known and the unknown.
To make every supporter feel special,
Is a task that comes from the heart.
The NBA has created a culture,
Difficult for the light hearted,
Though not easy, its important,
As struggles now mark every region,
The river valleys, forests and coastal regions.
Along highways, heartless cities and every labouring hand.
It is difficult to be generous,
Be it in pain or success,
To give everyone a share,
Is not easy for those who cannot care.
Like in a large family, to which many belong,
Some may work very hard,
Some others less than others,
Some take the strain,
And others the pain,
Still others take credit,
And for some its only debit.
The children add joy,
The elders continuity,
Some are able,
Some not so capable,
But when it matters, they are all there,
That’s makes a difference,
The ability to share,
Beyond what seems to be fair,
To be able to look beyond,
A vision on what matters,
Beyond me, just now and today,
Thinking of the time to come.
And world more just to its people.
There is value in giving everyone s name,
And sharing a little fame,
One might falter and fall, but not die.
As its important, to live and move on.
The Andolan is a large family,
Gathering strength like a small stream,
Becoming a mighty river,
A force to reckon with,
With the power to stand up to its cause,
And support others and lend their voice,
Against injustice anywhere,
As that’s the calling they share.
This small lesson I have learnt,
In the little time I traveled along,
From co-travelers and leaders,
In The Valley School I have known,
The Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Narmada Bachao Andolan
62, Gandhi Marg, Badwani, M.P. – 451551
firstname.lastname@example.org , Ph: 07290-222464
Press Release- 2nd April 2007
• Enquiry into NBA's funds is not ordered but only requested by the opponents of NBA: Deliberate news is defamatory,
• Enquiry is already conducted and we are not afraid, if taken up again
• Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh Governments are prosecuting us, using the fake case by a corporate man, to suppress the Movement
It is no news that Gujarat's corporates or the Government itself is again and again requesting the Supreme Court to order an enquiry. However it is all in a petition filed by one Mr V K Saxena, who is a corporate man, now supported by the politicians in the governments in his campaign and an accused in the case of physical assault on Medha Patkar in Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, during a peace meeting related to communal violence riots in Gujarat.
The affidavits filed by MP & Gujarat refers to number of police cases against NBA and the deliberate and vulgar campaign by VK Saxena, NCCL has also been referring to the same repeatedly while the fact is that almost all the case s have already been disposed off by the lower courts in favour of NBA. It is also known to the world that those who challenge the State on its so called development plans and human rights violations are bound to and do face such cases all over the country.
The news has come on the eve of the baseless case of "sedition" against NBA coming up in the Supreme Court on April 2nd and hence the intentions are quite clear. We warn the media against any support such a politically motivated campaign which amounts to defamation.
We are not and have never been afraid of any enquiry and we have already faced it in the past. However, the false and absurd charges in the Petition are undemocratic and unconstitutional and non-maintainable, as Adv. Indira Jaisingh, pleading for NBA, has already argued before the Supreme Court. The SC has also refused to issue notice to Medha Patkar while the campaigners continue to target her.
The case filed by Mr V K Saxena, in the name of National Council of Civil Liberties, tried to accuse NBA and Medha Patkar of 'sedition', claiming any and every opposition to a development project as planned by the State as sedition! This can lead to booking many political parties too who question and oppose destructive projects some where or other including SEZ at present.
One by one, all false charges of NBA receiving foreign funds are clearly denied too. We have not even accepted the money associated with its two awards – Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and Goldman Environmental Prize. The Supreme Court has already refused to issue any notice to Medha Patkar. The allegation that Rahul Banerjee who has never been a part of NBA, has received funds from foundations and pilfered to NBA is also utterly false and is denied by NBA as well as Rahul Banerjee, a party to the petition through affidavits and supporting documents.
Hence the news of Gujarat government filing an affidavit supporting Saxena's prayer is no great news but is deliberately made up to defame Medha Patkar and NBA. We don't mind any enquiry but the state governments themselves, including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, are shamefully grabbing unlimited foreign funds and have no moral right to question a genuine people's movement that has stayed away from such attraction and lures. Their more news and affidavits to petitions are merely suppressive tactics, to influence our supporters and the court itself, nothing else.
Yogini Khanolkar Ashish Mandloi Noorji Padvi
CALLOUS ATTITUDE OF THE GOVERNMENTS TOWARDS THE STRUGGLE BY DAM AFFECTED PEOPLE CONTINUE
CHILDREN’S RALLY ON 2ND JULY
Since the mid-1980s, the Narmada Bachao Andolan has been struggling against large dams all across the 1312-kilometre length of the Narmada River and her tributaries. The dharna and hunger fast being waged by the brave people affected by the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dam-affected families in Khandwa right now, in this era of neo-liberal onslaught, is very significant and is a chilling reminder of how India's entire social fabric is slowly eroding, how farmers who feed the nation are being starved of food and justice.
The people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), the furthest downstream dam in the series, watch in horror as familiar scenes replay upstream. The sight of the inhuman flooding of Gunjari, the pain of empty stomachs but high hopes of the fasters after 22 days of anshan, the news of the morally-bankrupt state's only response being sending the police to inflict further violence, the loud rallies of tens of thousands of men, women and children through the cramped lanes of Khandwa, the legal dramas as government lies are repeatedly exposed in court and in civil society, to no avail.
We demand that the dialogue is initiated by both the State and Central Government with agitators on the issues of rehabilitation and its linkage with the filling of dam reservoirs immediately. We also expect that the Central authority - NHPC and NCA will play their monitoring role effectively and not allow the State Government authorities i.e. NVDA and NHDC to violate the law and the policy.
The SSP-affected families, ranging from the adivasis still living in the Vindhya and Satpura ranges on the banks of the ever-rising reservoir, to those still living in populous thriving villages in western Nimad and awaiting submergence any day with nowhere to go, provide their wholehearted support to fellow "oustees" upstream. They are united by decades of nonviolent struggles for justice, countering the callous language and attitude of the government towards people losing their lands, homes, livelihoods to irresponsible projects.
THEY WILL START A SATYAGRAHA SOON TO CHALLENGE THE SUBMERGENCE WITHOUT LAND BASED REHABILITATION. A CHILDREN'S RALLY ON 2ND JULY WILL QUESTION THE GOVERNMENT'S CALLOUS AND UNJUSTIFIABLE MOVE TO SHIFT THE SCHOOLS TO VACANT R&R SITES, WHEN 25,000 FAMILIES CONTINUE TO STAY IN THE SUBMERGENCE AREA OF 122 METRES HIGH DAM TODAY.
While the country bows down to secretive decisions being made behind closed doors in Delhi and Washington, while the violence and brutality in the Nandigrams and Kalinga Nagars reluctantly creeps into front pages, while dreams of linked rivers, special economic zones and 9% economic growth are spun by those in power, the people of the entire Narmada Valley watch in knowing despair.
The people of the Narmada Valley join in as the agitation against unjust displacement of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams have issued a dire warning to communities all across the country, from Nandigram to Dadri, from Kashipur to Plachimada. "Do not give your land, your resources, your livelihood and your security to the ever-hungry brutal state. The state does not have the ability or the political will to rehabilitate you justly. The state has nothing to offer you but lathis."
The only thing we can do, the people all affirm, is to continue to struggle together.
Narmada bachao! Maanav bachao! (Save the Narmada, save humanity!)
Ladenge! Jeetenge! (We will fight, and we will win!)
Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Kamla Yadav Medha Patkar
Narmada Bachao Andolan
House at 189 metres height submerges at water level of 185 metres.
Affected people of Gunjari continue to brave rising waters.
One more Adivasi phaliya (mohalla) in danger.
Indefinite Hunger Strike continues for the 11th day.
An affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by NHDC and the MP state government was proven false today when a house in Gunjari village, that was not to be submerged even at water level of 189 metres, was submerged at the present water level of 185 metres. It is to be noted that the state government had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court as well as the High Court stating that 22 houses of Gunjari would not be affected even when the water level in the Omkareshwar dam reservoir rises to a crest level of 189 metres. But today as the water rose to 185 metres it entered the house. The affected people of Gunjari village, including 17 women and 10 men are braving the rising waters in the affected house of Shri Radhelal.
One more Adivasi phaliya (mohalla) is also facing threat due to the rising waters of the Omkareshwar dam. 115 families reside in this Jiroth Phaliya of village Kelva Bujurg. The waters have reached their houses. The road connecting this village to Goghalgaon and Kelva has come under water. Only one very long route to this village is still functional. Due to the closure of the main roads, the food rations of these families have run out. Most of the lands belonging to these families have been submerged without any compensation. A few days earlier they were given the compensation for their houses and since then no grant or rehabilitation has been given. The government is not paying any attention to the plight of these villagers. Therefore, even though the main roads have been deluged, no ferry system or boat facilities have been provided.
The indefinite hunger strike of the 5 people at the dharna site of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dam affected people in Khnadwa has reached its 11th day today. It was also the second day of the three-day hunger strike by 40 other affected people – the third batch of its kind. A large number of people from the dharna gheraoed the City Kotwali from 11.00 pm to 6.00 am and protested against the false affidavits submitted by the state government which allowed the closure of the sluice and radial gates of the dam and brought about the submergence. They also demanded a stop to the further filling of water in the Omkareshwar dam reservoir.
On the 13th day of the indefinite dharna, hundreds of people from the Adivasi Ekta Sangathan, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan and Samajwadi Jan Parishad joined the dharna in solidarity.
Telefax : 0733 - 2228418/2270014
A survey of 429 families displaced from Indira Sagar Pariyojana (ISP), and now living in 5 government resettled sites (Jhingadarh, Bhangarda, Chikli, Ambakhal and Jhagariya) and 6 privately resettled sites (Barud, Naya Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya, Dinkarpura and Nagarbeda), was carried out in October-November 2006 by an independent team of 5 persons. The team members were -- Kaivalya Desai (Masters student, Delhi University), Upmanyu Trivedi (Masters student, Delhi University), Vineet Jain (Undergraduate student, Delhi University), P. Srikant (Doctoral student, ISEC, Bangalore), and Rahul Pandey (Independent researcher and former professor, IIT Bombay and IIM Lucknow). The survey revealed drastic erosion in socio-economic condition of displaced families.
The key findings of the survey are as follows:
* Majority of displaced families had to resettle privately as the government did not offer adequate number and quality of resettlement sites. However, those resettled privately have poor infrastructure and face hostility from neighbouring host communities.
* Most cash received as compensation and grant was spent in contingencies like purchasing house plot, building new house, paying off debt, and meeting running expense. No family could make new investment in any significant productive asset or resource.
* Most farmer families have lost major share of agricultural land to submergence. As the compensation rate for land was half to one-third of market rate, no family has been able to rebuild the lost land. All families from Bhangarda, 80% from Ambakhal, 70% from Jhingadarh and Jhagariya, more than 50% from Barud, Naya-Siwar and Nagarbeda, and 34% from Chikli have lost more than half of their farmland ownership after displacement.
* Following families reported decline in income by more than half: All families from Bhangarda, Naya-Siwar, Barud and Nagarbeda, and more than 50% families from Jhingadarh, Ambakhal, Jhagariya, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road and Hantiya.
* Population of landless labourers has increased by 67% among all surveyed sites as many small farmers have become landless.
* As cumulative farmland in every village has declined, farm labour work opportunities for landless labourers have fallen sharply, from 15-25 days a month in original villages to 2-9 days a month in resettled sites. All labourer families surveyed reported more than 50% fall in annual income. No other employment opportunities exist as most sites are not located in proximity to any pre-existing market or urban habitation. Seasonal labour migrations have increased.
* No resettled site has any grazing land or proximate forests. Hence cattle population has depleted by 80% in Bhangarda and Barud, by 60% in Ambakhal, and by 30-50% in other sites as it is now economically burdensome for families to maintain cattle. Useful trees owned by families have reduced by 65-100% in various sites. With drastic decline in cattle and trees, access of people to livelihood inputs like dung and firewood has gone down.
* All privately resettled sites and some government sites have no civic amenities like water supply/wells, roads, electricity and drainage. Other government sites have public wells and semi-pucca roads but no drainage. With no roads, drainage and clean water, daily life of villagers in private sites becomes a health hazard especially in rainy season.
* Most sites are not located close to middle/high schools and no private site has primary school. As a result several children, especially girls, have dropped out of school. 10-50% families in various sites reported drop out of previously school-going children.
* With unhygienic living conditions, economic hardship and uncertain future, cases of physical illness (like stomach problem, fever and malaria) and psychological depression have increased. About 90% families from Ambakhal and 15-35% families from other sites complained of such problems. No site has primary health facility.
* The compensation estimation and disbursal process was ridden with rampant corruption and misinformation. Most people got less than their due. This, together with the fact that different families of a house jointly owned many assets for which cash compensation was given, has contributed to mistrust and break-down among family and community relationships.
Poor design and implementation of Rehabilitation & Resettlement (R&R) is the main reason behind all this devastation. In retrospect, everyone feels that cash compensation was highly insufficient to rebuild livelihood and they must have got land for land.
C-419, Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore- 560 012
Press Note: 22 June 2007
High Court orders no coercive measures in villages affected by Omkareshwar Project
Decision on the rights of the affected families will be taken during the final hearing
Gunjari Satyagraha withdrawn
Indefinite hunger strike at Khandwa continues
The Jabalpur High Court today ordered the State government and NHDC not to apply any coercive measures including cutting off water or electricity, breaking the houses etc in 25 villages affected by the Omkareshwar dam project. The High Court has said that it will decide about the rights of affected people of the village Gunjari at the time of the final hearing which will start from 24th July. The hearing was before the bench of Chief Justice Anang Kumar Patnayak and Justice Ajit Singh. Advocate General RN Singh represented the State government & NHDC and Narmada Bachao Andolan was represented by senior activist Chittaroopa Palit.
On the other hand, in a meeting of representatives of Narmada Bachao Andolan, State government and NHDC the state government proposed that 22 affected families of the village Gunjari will be given Rs. 35,000 and a plot of 5400 sq. feet. This will be in addition to whatever rights the High Court decides to give to them. The Jal Satyagraha (Satyagraha in rising water) at Gunjari was withdrawn after this proposal by the government and the decision of the High Court about the hearing on their rights. These villagers will now join the dharna at Khandwa. All the women of village Gunjari including the main activist Ramkuwar who were standing in water for last 9 days have been immediately hospitalized.
The Dharna by thousands of oustees of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects has entered in its 19th day. The indefinite hunger strike at the dharna by 5 people is continuing on its 17th day. Health of the hunger strikers have been deteriorating. Yesterday evening, the district collector and the General Manager, NHDC held a long meeting with representatives of the Andolan to discuss the rights being demanded by the affected people. Yet, there is no concrete response from the state.
Indefinite hunger strike reaches its 18th day
State government neglects the displaced villagers
and violates Court decision
Wide support for the Khandwa struggle
The people affected by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects continue their struggle at their Head Quarters at Khandwa district. The hunger strike by five of them has reached its 18th day. There is a steady deterioration in the health of the five strikers.
It is notable indeed that the indefinite dharna, which began on 4th June, has reached its 20th day today. The Andolan had sent a memorandum with all their demands to the Chief Minister's office on 4th June itself. During the dharna itself, the Andolan made special counters. These counters provide aid and has so far lodged 11, 000 complaints (individual as well as collective) which are proof enough of the situation the displaced villagers are in. The fact that the State government and the NHDC have not taken any concrete steps to resolve the issues raised proves their utter neglection of the displaced people.
Further, blatant violation of Supreme Court and High Court decisions also clearly shows that the government does not seem to believe in following the law. On 15th March 2005 , the Supreme Court had passed an order that all adult sons of farmers should be given land. Giving its verdict on a case filed on the issues related to Indira Sagar project, the High Court Jabalpur had passed an order in September 2006 that upheld this Supreme Court verdict and further directed the state to give Special Rehabilitation Grant to the adult sons too. But even after 9 months have passed this decision has not been implemented by the State government in clear violation of the law.
The affected people participating in the Khandwa struggle are deeply committed to continue with their struggle till they achieve their just rights. They demand that they be given land in lieu of their submerged lands, that adult sons be given the Special Rehabilitation Package, that all the affected houses left out from the surveys be brought in under the Land Acquisition Act, that all areas that have become islands due to the reservoir water also be brought under the Land Acquisition Act, that Harsood and other rehabilitation sites be provided with employment and livelihood facilities, new rehabilitation sites be set up to meet the increasing number of families being affected and the thousands of complaints pending due to the violation of the rehabilitation policy be dealt with with immediate effect.
The Khandwa Satyagraha is receiving continuous support from a lot of organisations and individuals from all over the state and the country. Samajwadi Parishad and Kisan Adivasi Sangathan leader Shri Sunilbhai, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan leader Ms. Madhuri, Shri Afaaq Lashkari and others from Sajhaa Manch, Delhi were chief among those who reached the dharna site in support. In addition Shri Ashish Mandloi and Kamala Yadav from the Sardar Sarovar dam affected region, Shri Govind Rawat from the Maan dam affected region, Ms Kadvi Bai from the Maheshwar dam affected region also joined the dharna and expressed their solidarity with the Khandwa struggle on behalf of their respective organisations. A relay dharna has also been started in Harsood from today in support of the Khandwa dharna. The Sub-divisional officer, Harsud has been informed through a joint memorandum on behalf of 36 families residing in Harsood that every day one family will sit on this dharna along with a large number of its supporters.
Date: 07-Jul-2007 23:07
• JAMIN HAQ SATYAGRAHA TO BEGIN ON JULY 11TH IN NIMAD (M.P.), 17TH IN CHIMALKHEDI (MAHARASHTRA)
• COME TO THE NARMADA VALLEY AND EXPRESS YOUR SOLIDARITY
Even as the Narmada River is roaring in agitation like a turbulent sea, with its freedom blocked and people uprooted, the Sardar Sarovar dam-affected families are COMMENCING THE MONSOON SATYAGRAHA ON JULY 11TH IN NIMAD (Madhya Pradesh). The adivasis, peasants, farmers, artisans and small traders will begin the Jamin Haq (Land Rights) Satyagraha in the villages demanding land-for-land rehabilitation instead of cash compensation and declaration of all those who are kept out of the list.
ON JULY 17TH, THE SATYAGRAHA WILL BEGIN IN CHIMALKHEDI VILLAGE, Maharashtra. They will be demanding declaration of all hitherto undeclared but eligible families and for speedy allotment of cultivable, agricultural lands.
On 4th July, the issue of unjust displacement was once again raised during the big rally in Badwani. After more than an hour of road blockade, the people met the Badwani District Collector and expressed their concerns. Many new areas may be affected this year as the dam stands at 122 meters and the submergence may be unpredictable as the contour surveys were found to be incorrect in many places. There is chance of heavy rain during this monsoon. People already affected are not yet shifted as either resettlement sites are not yet ready, unsuitable, far from the agricultural lands or families have not yet been declared.
On 5th July, the people affected from Sardar Sarovar, Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar to Bargi dams met the Governor of M.P. Dr. Balram Jhakar in Bhopal. He called the struggling displaced people as ‘freedom fighters’ of modern India, who are fighting for their lands and resources, which have been snatched away by State in the name of the so called development. He also took note of the huge corruption involved in the resettlement process (ref. Note on Land Scam circulated on July 3rd)
The adivasis in Alirajpur tehsil had earlier met the collector of Jhabua (M.P.) who has called a meeting on 10th July to discuss allotment of private lands to the Project Affected Families (PAFs). About 500 families still remain in these 26 villages, half of whom are still undeclared! The gross violation of their legal and human rights have not yet been considered.
WE, HEREBY INVITE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING THE STRUGGLE IN THE NARMADA VALLEY, TO COME AND PARTICIPATE DURING THE MONSOON SATYAGRAHA BEGINNING IN NIMAD ON JULY 11th AND 17th IN CHIMALKHEDI . THOSE WHO ARE COMING TO NIMAD MAY PLAN TO REACH BADWANI ON 10TH EVENING OR 11TH MORNING.
WE ALSO EARNESTLY APPEAL TO ALL SUPPORTERS FOR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS, EITHER IN CASH OR KIND. The ‘Janasahayog’ (People’s Solidarity) program is providing basic food to the most needy who have lost their lands but not yet got alternative land. We welcome donations of clothes, umbrellas, tarpaulin sheets, food grains and cash. Those who wish to make contributions, please contact the persons given below. Please note that people were fighting for the last 22 years, not only by their will but also due to the earnest and generous support of each one of you, who look forward to genuine development of our country and its people.
Most importantly, COME TO THE NARMADA VALLEY AND EXPRESS YOUR SOLIDARITY and see for yourself the appalling situation people are pushed into due to the callous and inhuman approach of the successive governments and also the patience and steely resolve of the people to struggle on, against all odds.
TO COME TO BADWANI ON 11TH, IT IS 4 HRS FROM INDORE BY BUS, THERE ARE OVERNIGHT BUSES FROM MUMBAI, FROM VADODARA IT IS 7 HRS BY BUS.
TO COME TO CHIMALKHEDI ON 17TH, YOU MAY EITHER REACH BADWANI ON 16TH MORNING AND TRAVEL WITH THE TEAM GOING TO GADHER VILLAGE (WHICH IS ON THE OPPOSITE BANK OF CHIMALKHEDI) OR COME TO VADODARA BY 17TH EARLY MORNING AND THEN BY JEEP TO GADHER (CONTACT ROHIT PRAJAPATI). FROM THERE YOU WILL TRAVEL BY BOAT TO CHIMALKHEDI. PLEASE BE PREPARED TO WALK A LITTLE WHILE.
Mumbai – Pervin Jehangir - 09820636335, 022-22184779
Pune - Suniti S R – 020-25211404, 09422048967
Shahada - Shyam Patil – 02562-246419, 09423496020
Indore – Chinmayabhai, Sarvodaya Press Service – 0731-2401083, 09893278855
Vadodara- Rohit Prajapati – 0265-2320399
Ashish Mandloi, Yogini Khanolkar, Kailash Awasya, Medha Patkar
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
62 Gandhi Marg, Badwani, M.P. Ph. 07290-222464 email@example.com
Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Dhadgaon, Nandurbar, Maharashtra. Ph: 02595-220620
MOST URGENT ACTION ALERT
6 January 2007
Narendra Modi (CM, Gujarat) has called a meeting of CMs of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh on 7th January 07 (tomorrow) to seek consent on erecting the gates on the Sardar Sarovar Dam wall, which is already raised to 122 mts height when thousands of affected families are yet to receive land and get resettled and rehabilitated. If the gates are erected and height is raised to 138.68 mts, it will lead to a watery grave, unjust and illegal. This must not happen after 21 years of struggle by the people, adivasis and farmers, who raised basic questions related to development. Please therefore get into action here and now.
PLEASE SEND FAXES ON A PRIORITY BASIS. THE COMMON LETTER BELOW IS SELF EXPLANATORY. YOU CAN DRAFT YOUR OWN LETTER OR SEND US YOUR ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE COMMON LETTER.
The fax letter should go by today itself, BEFORE OFFICE CLOSES.
Let it be a genuine Happy New Year for every one!!!
love and best wishes,
Narmada Bachao Andolan
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Fax: 022 22029214 / 23631446
E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
Fax: +91-755-2540501; +91-755-2551781
The Prime Minister of India
Fax: 011 23019817, 23016996 (Res)
E-Mail email@example.com, http://pmindia.nic.in/write.htm
Ms. Sonia Gandhi
Chairperson, Indian National Congress
Fax: 011 23018651
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Shri Saif-ud-din Soz
Minister of Water Resources
Fax: 91-11-23714200, 11-23714663, 11-23711780 (off),
11-23782032 11-23782034 (res)
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Shri R.R. Patil
Fax: 022 22024873 / 23631505
Shri Patangrao Kadam
Minister for Rehabilitation
Fax: 022 22024751 / 22821499
We understand that the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi has called a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the riparian States connected with the Sardar Sarovar Dam on 7th January 2007, to get their approval to increase the Sardar Sarovar Dam to its complete height by fitting in the dam gates.
Despite the horrific dam related flooding that took place in the monsoons of 2006, despite nearly 2 lakh project affected people still not having received rehabilitation whatsoever, despite a number of Rehabilitation colonies being submerged this monsoon, this would amount to criminal and uncalled for destruction of lives and livelihoods and transgression of the rights of the affected families.
WE REQUEST YOU TO EITHER BOYCOTT THE MEETING OR DECISIVELY AND EFFECTIVELY DISALLOW THE PROPOSED INCREASE UNTIL REHABILITATION IS COMPLETED AS PER THE GUARANTEES GIVEN BY THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA AND THE NARMADA WATER DISPUTES TRIBUNAL AWARD, WHICH IS BINDING.
• NBA dharna in Delhi continues
• NBA delegation meets Smt. Veena Chhotray, Chairperson, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Sub-group, Narmada Control Authority
• Fraudulent affidavits submitted to Supreme Court by M.P. and Maharashtra stands exposed
• “Visthapan Parishad” held at the Dharna site today
The Narmada Bachao Andolan dharna in New Delhi today entered the 2nd day with hundreds of representatives of the affected adivasis and farmers in the Narmada Valley, who arrived here, resolving that they will not return till their demands, are met. The dharna, which began yesterday at the gate of Shastri Bhavan, continues at Jantar Mantar, after the agitating affected people were forcibly lifted and put into vans and brought to Jantar Mantar late last night. This police action is reprehensible not just because of the use of force on peaceful agitators, but also since it took place while the NBA delegation was in Shastri Bhavan, holding discussions with Smt. Veena Chhoutray, Chairperson R&R Sub-group.
NBA has, in its talks yesterday with the Dr. Meira Kumar, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment and Smt. Veena Chhoutray, expressed deep anguish at the fact that construction up to 122m had been completed even after the Shunglu Committee Report had clearly found that R&R was not yet completed. Also, despite the directions of Prime Minister that R&R work must be accelerated, during the period when there would be stoppage of work at 119m, and completed before work on construction of the dam was resumed. NBA then pressed for the undertaking of R&R work on war footing without any further increase in dam height. Towards realizing R&R of affected people, NBA placed a list of demands that is enclosed with the press release. The sacrificing of the rights of the affected populations at the altar of Sardar Sarovar is the violation of the rehabilitation framework laid down by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and the several judgments of the Supreme Court.
IT MAY BE RECALLED THAT IN THE ONGOING CASE IN THE SUPREME COURT, THE GOVERNMENTS OF MADHYA PRADESH AND MAHARASHTRA HAD FILED AFFIDAVITS STATING THAT THE R&R OF ALL PAFS UP TO 122M HAD BEEN COMPLETED. OWING TO THE NBA’S AGITATION IN MARCH/APRIL 2006 IN NEW DELHI, THE PRIME MINISTER DIRECTED THE FORMATION OF THE SHUNGLU COMMITTEE TO VERIFY THE R&R CLAIMS IN MADHYA PRADESH. THE FINDINGS OF THE SHUNGLU COMMITTEE, NOT ONLY VALIDATE THE CLAIMS MADE BY NBA, BUT EXPOSE THE LIES IN THE AFFIDAVITS OF THE GOVERNMENTS. THE REPORT ALSO BRINGS OUT THAT 25,000 FAMILIES (19000 DECLARED PAFS, OTHERS ‘CLAIMANTS’) CONTINUE TO RESIDE IN THE SUBMERGENCE AREA OF M.P ALONE WHO WOULD HAVE TO BE RESETTLED AND REHABILITATED, LISTS OF MAJOR SONS WERE YET TO BE COMPLETED, LAND YET TO BE PURCHASED BY THOSE WHO HAVE ACCEPTED SPECIAL REHABILITATION PACKAGE (SRP), TENS OF R&R SITES WERE YET TO BE EITHER ESTABLISHED OR DEVELOPED WITH AMENITIES AND THE GOVERNMENT OF MADHYA PRADESH DOES NOT HAVE CULTIVABLE LAND FOR REHABILITATION. THE REPORT OF YASHADA, PUNE, THE OFFICIAL MONITORING AND EVALUATION AGENCY APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MAHARASHTRA, HAS FOUND THAT 874 PROJECT AFFECTED FAMILIES ARE YET TO BE REHABILITATED. WHAT THIS GOES TO PROVE IS THAT THE AFFIDAVITS THAT HAVE BEEN PLACED BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT BY THE GOVERNMENTS OF MAHARASHTRA AND MADHYA PRADESH ARE FRAUDULENT.
One of NBA’s demands is that there should be an investigation into the massive corruption in the disbursement of cash compensation in the name of Special Rehabilitation Package (SRP) in M.P. The figures presented by M.P., of the PAFs rehabilitated in Madhya Pradesh or of those who are shown to have supposedly purchased land, are fabricated. There is massive corruption of crores or rupees by the officials (almost all land acquisition officers and resettlement officers) and the middlemen (especially few local advocates), which has led to false registries and land purchases that have not actually occurred. In the past month or so, several government officials have been found guilty of corruption practices in relation to SRP. An investigation by a Central Agency would reveal the obscene levels of corruption pervading this entire process.
Today, “Visthapan Parishad” (a public meeting of the displaced) was called to discuss the various issues related to displacement. Speakers, relating to experiences across India, strongly stated that displacement, without ‘rehabilitation with replacement of livelihood’, just mere uprooting of communities, has become the most serious national issue. On the one hand, the traditional displacement caused by dams, highways, mines, industries, etc. still displace lakhs, on a yearly basis. Now the new “land reform” movement of the government, namely SEZ, will further displacement like never before. Only humane considerations and a humanist value framework, which is enshrined in our constitution, can enable anyone and the State to take cognizance of the pain and anguish, the intensifying people’s struggles, the issues of justice raised, rights to life and livelihood, asserted. The speakers included Ravindra Sahu speaking on Orissa, Shantaji (Sanjha Manch), Sandeep speaking on Singur, Rakesh Rafique, Lalbabu, Vimalbhai (Uttarkhand), Bijulal, Denzil, Kamala Yadav and Himanshu Upadhyay.
The dharna at Jantar Mantar will continue and that is the resolve of the people from the Narmada Valley. The NWDTA and Supreme Court judgments have to be implemented and the R&R of people must precede any further dam construction. Like Bhaijikaka, an adivasi from Gujarat affected by the dam, always says, “hamara hak aage hain, Sardar Sarovar peeche hain” (The rights of the affected comes first, projects can wait).
Ashish Mandloi,Kamala Yadav,Yogini Khanolkar,Noorji Padvi,Medha Patkar
• NBA dharna outside Shastri Bhavan (Delhi)
• NBA delegation meets Dr. Meira Kumar, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment
• Increasing the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from 119m up to 121.92m is complete
• Directions of the Prime Minister that further construction be undertaken after completion of balance R&R, thrown to the dustbin
Today (2/1/07), the NBA began dharna outside the Shastri Bhavan, which houses the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and met with the Dr. Meira Kumar, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. The NBA delegation was accompanied by Swamy Agnivesh and Shri Praful Bidwai. In a long meeting with the Minister, the NBA delegation updated the Minister on the developments with regard to the dam and rehabilitation of project affected persons. The Minister promised to look into issues raised by NBA and get in touch later. The Minister, however, stated that since she has visited the Valley as part of the Three Member Ministerial Committee constituted by the Prime Minister last year, she was aware of the problems in the resettlement process. NBA resolved that the dharna would continue until the demands were met.
NBA informed the Minister that the Sardar Sarovar dam was raised from 119 mts to 122 mts, the height that was approved in March 2006, but was, after a long struggle, investigations and continuing legal action, stayed. While the submergence caused by the 119 mts dam itself drowned and devastated adivasi families in the mountainous communities of Jhabua and Badwani (Madhya Pradesh), and Nandurbar (Maharashtra), there are altogether about 35,000 families, i.e. 1.5 lakh and more people living, even today, in the affected area of 122 mts.
It is the 21 year long struggle and its continuation that has resulted in about 11,000 families getting land based rehabilitation, notwithstanding the numerous problems still being faced by them. Despite this, more than two lakh people continue to reside in the submergence area of full dam height which is 138.68 mts, with the gates planned to be erected above the wall of 122 mts. Rehabilitation of all these as per law and court judgments is not in sight since the state governments have raised a cry of “No cultivable land available”. In lieu of land, Madhya Pradesh government is trying to pay cash through corrupt officials-middlemen-politicians nexus illegally. This nexus has grabbed crores of rupees from the public money in the exchequer, permitted by NO MONITORING by the Centre.
Prime Minster’s promise to the apex court never kept intact, instead, the process of promises and violation, fraudulent and false affidavits has been on. The weak report by the Shunglu Committee (Oversight Group) brought out the fact that thousands of families are far from rehabilitated. The Committee, however, expects all this to change by the end of this financial year i.e. March 2007! The Prime Minister had assured the Court in July that the dam construction would not be taken beyond 119m without a review in October, and importantly, until R&R was completed.
The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) and its R&R Sub-group, both held meetings and directed the State government to complete works at R&R sites to ensure that the affected get land as per eligibility, that all grievances are redressed and thousands of families shifted to the R&R sites, upgradation of the 49 average/poor R&R sites, etc. These are yet to be done. Yet again, even the Shunglu Committee has failed to ensure that R&R sites are established for the adivasi villages in Jhabua, where as of today, there are no R&R sites. Thousands of families thus do not have any place to shift.
In Maharashtra, the situation remains unchanged for those hundreds of affected families facing submergence year after year but awaiting to be “declared” as affected persons and those who are declared but not yet rehabilitated. The problems of those affected families who still remain in their original villages in Gujarat, falls on deaf ears. The thousands of complaints received by the Grievances Redressal Authorities of these two states, points to the problems faced by even those who have shifted to the R&R sites.
Despite all this, the dam was taken up to 122m! This is murderous. This is an utter violation of legal and human rights guaranteed by the law of the land and against the ethos of our constitution. Are the Courts watching?
And on the top of it all, these sacrifices of huge displacement and burial of thousands of years old culture and cultural habitation went in vain. The speculated benefits from the very dam in terms of generating electricity, distribution of drinking water and irrigating of drought prone area still remain a distinct utopian dream.
• Drinking water could have been supplied to all the 8200+ villages even at dam height 110m itself, but has not materialised. Only about 1/4th of these received some water and of these, 10% have received water with some regularity.
• Irrigation potential at 110m was claimed to be an area of 5.5 lakh hectares but only 58,000 hectares was covered. Instead of taking action to cover up the rest of the target area first, what is happening right now is raising of the height of the dam from 110m to 122m by putting up the same target potential. Needless to add that the work on the canal network is lagging behind.
• Power to be generated at 122m is only about 50% of what the official statements claim. The main power-house will stop producing power once irrigation potential in Gujarat and from Indira Sagar in Madhya Pradesh are realized within few years.
The people will have to challenge this state of affairs and this State! The dharna at Delhi will continue till all demands are met.
Ashish Mandloi Kamala Yadav Noorji Padvi Medha Patkar
Narmada Bachao Andolan is in one more battle. This time it is not the Sardar Sarovar affected population, the fighting adivasis and the struggling farmers-labourers- artisans-fish-workers to be ousted, not less than 40,000 families, who are targeted by our opponents, but the Andolan itself. The sedition petition with such a serious charge, filed by a corporate man from Gujarat, have made us parties and challenge the UPA government take action against us. The Supreme Court refused to issue any notice to Medha Patkar or any, to order any inquiry into the charges but issued notice to the NBA, a few months back.
The petition which, in short, tries to convince the apex court in the country that to question any project proposed or planned by the State - the executive or any authority - is in itself sedition. Claiming that such an opposition leads to deprivation of the beneficiaries, their right to benefit, to development and to life, the petitioner has made false and fabricated charges against the people's movement. Every action in the past - organizing people, empowering them, questioning the funding agencies who push the projects at the cost of law of the land, is condemned and distorted. The principle of eminent domain is in a way applied, not merely for land acquisition but project imposition, as per the petitioner.
This petition filed by Mr V K Saxena of some organization from Gujarat, called National Council of Civil Liberties is thus a move challenging all the movements and people's struggles in the country and may prove to be an attempt to forbid all opposition, even raising the real issues of costs and benefits, social and environmental impacts or distributive justice, which in turn make a project desirable and developmental or otherwise.
We alert and appeal to the people's movements and other organizations to take cognizance of this legal strategy that may be used against any and every organization. We also appeal to you to send your condemnation to the PM, Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister urgently asking the UPA government to take a firm, democratic and just position against Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh governments who have desired to get the case going. The UPA should be asked to file an affidavit, questioning the petition, its legal and moral basis to establish their secular face and role.
Act before it's too late.
Ashish Mandloi, Kamala Yadav, Noorji Padvi, Yogini Khanolkar
17 July 2007
LAND CULTIVATED, NIMAD FARMERS BRING IN TRACTORS FOR ADIVASIS
FARMERS ISSUE NOTICE TO THE NARMADA HYDRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Zameen Haq Satyagraha has been on for 5 days now …with an added vigour today. When the Government agencies, especially Krishi Vigyan Kendra, attempted to bring in their tractor to cultivate the land now occupied by the adivasis and others affected by Sardar Sarovar Dam, women Satyagrahis gheraoed it and didn't allow it to move. Soon thereafter the farmers of Nimad brought in 20 of their tractors and helped adivasis by cultivating the entire occupied land i.e. 90 acres. It was a scene of unity and integrity cultivated by Andolan since years that has brought in results and should go a long way.
The women of Nimad and adivasi region are engaged in weeding together…engaging and exchanging views. Subhan of Kakrana and Atya of Kharya Bhadal said, "we are determined that we will take the crop and not run away." Hundreds of families have become aware of their rights and have raised their voice. They have come forward and recorded their complaint at the Satyagraha pandal.
People are determined to obtain the land plot and every right, even if at a great cost. Hundreds of farmers whose motor pumps are submerged have sent a notice to the Narmada Hydro Development Corporation (NHDC) saying that they either fully compensate or the NHDC will be sued in the court. There is no clear response to the issues, including land-based rehabilitation, from NCA or NVDA till date.
Medha Patkar Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Kamla Yadav
TO VIEW THE LAND OCCUPATION ACTION:
Click the link below for a slide show of scenes from Taloon land occupation site. You do not need to sign in. Once you enter the page, just click 'play'.
'Zameen Hak' (Land Rights) Satyagraha – Land Occupation Action from July 13th
The SARDAR SAROVAR affected families have begun the 'Zameen Haq' Satyagraha in Madhya Pradesh on July 13th demanding land-for-land rehabilitation instead of cash compensation and declaration of all those who are kept out of the list. Hundreds of affected adivasis and other farmers, including river-bed cultivators, have occupied 100 acres of government land in Taloon, reserved for seed farm, in Badwani district, Madhya Pradesh as an expression of a well known principle: expropriators must be expropriated. The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, The Supreme Court orders, Constitutional rights of citizens, all stand violated as submergence without rehabilitation continue to happen in the valley, year after year. 22 years of persistent struggle by NBA has achieved much in terms of rehabilitation and without struggle, the remaining populations will not get their due, especially in Madhya Pradesh.
We can't remain silent and peaceful anymore, when more than 2 lakh people are still residing in the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Dam alone. When the state is callous and ready to drown us, we can't merely protest through this Satyagraha but also acquire what is our due. It's obvious that in spite of Special Rehabilitation Package (SRP), land for 11,000 families, 90 resettlement sites, right to 5 acres of land for each major son of affected family, which SSP-affected could seek through long struggle of past 22 years, much remains to be done and attained. No appropriate and sufficient land is in sight and hence the adivasis in the hilly areas who are determined to get land for land as their right, including mostly those who led the struggle with commitment and vision that is known to the world and all of us. The fight has to be on.
Events leading up to the Satyagraha:
On July 4th, people had met the Collector Badwani. The issue of unjust displacement was once again raised during the big rally in Badwani. After more than an hour of road blockade, the people met the Badwani District Collector and expressed their concerns. Many new areas may be affected this year as the dam stands at 122 meters and the submergence may be unpredictable as the contour surveys were found to be incorrect in many places. With heavy rains expected during this monsoon, it is a dangerous situation as people already affected are not yet shifted, as either resettlement sites are not yet ready, unsuitable, far from the agricultural lands or families have not yet been declared.
On 5th July, the people affected from Sardar Sarovar, Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar to Bargi dams met the Governor of M.P. Dr. Balram Jhakar in Bhopal. He called the struggling displaced people as 'freedom fighters' of modern India, who are fighting for their lands and resources, which have been snatched away by State in the name of the so called development. He also took note of the huge corruption involved in the resettlement process (ref. Note on Land Scam circulated on July 3 rd)
On July 10th, the adivasis in Alirajpur tehsil had earlier met the Collector of Jhabua (M.P.) who has called a meeting to discuss allotment of private lands to the Project Affected Families (PAFs). About 500 families still remain in these 26 villages, half of whom are still undeclared! The gross violation of their legal and human rights have not yet been considered.
Day to day Happenings:
July13th, SSP-affected people occupy 100 acres of government lands in Taloon, near Badwani
July 14th, 50 acres have been measured and divided among more than hundred families and they have started co-operative farming. 5 acres are set apart for fisherfolk families who were doing river-bed cultivation. Khajanbhai and Vesta Dediya of Anjanwada, Ratanbhai of Sugat, Surban of Kakrana, Gokhru of Karya Badal, Kuman Singh of Bhitada and scores of others are determined to assert their right to life and land and send a message across to the insensitive authorities. Madubhai of Chikhalda and others have joined them as Nimad and Adivasi areas together initiate this land occupation action, integral to Satyagraha.
Movement of the slum displaced from Mumbai, Nandurbar - Maharashtra, Indore (M.P.) sent their representatives to extend their support.
July 15th, the Collector, Badwani gave a statement that case will be filed against 17 persons on charges of violation of law and order and illegal occupation! On the other hand, the farmers and peasants in Nimad have filed hundreds of applications at the Satyagraha site regarding the motor pumps which got submerged and destroyed due to sudden release of water from upstream dams. The Narmada Hydro Development Corporation (NHDC) is responsible for this calamity.
July 16th, a total of 90 acres of land brought under cultivation since July 13, 2007. Adivasis from Kharya Badal village (District Badwani) have filed an FIR under Scheduled Caste – Scheduled Tribes/Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 in Badwani Police Station against – Land Acquisition Officer (NVDA, Badwani), Rehabilitation Officer (NVDA, Badwani) and Collector (Badwani). Their land is destroyed, some houses submerged and yet no cultivable land is offered to them as yet. They have served a notice to the M.P. Government through the collector against the Rehabilitation Officer (NVDA, Badwani), Land Acquisition Officer (Badwani), Commissioner (NVDA, Indore) and Director of Rehabilitation, NCA, under Section 80 of CPC for destroying their main source of livelihood.
URGENT APPEAL FOR SUPPORT
16th June 2007
Today is the 13th day of the indefinite dharna at Khandwa of the people of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams on the Narmada river. It is also the 11th day of the indefinite fast of five representatives of the struggle who have been on fast since the 6th of June 2007.
The dharna began on the 4th of June, 2007 with a resounding rally of over 12,000 oustees of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams in the town of Khandwa followed by a gherao of the NHDC (Narmada Hydro-Development Corporation) which is building the dam. Since then 5000 oustees have been sitting on dharna in Khandwa with the resolve that they would go back to their villages only when their demands are met.
The villagers have taken complete financial and logistical responsibility for the program, and the atmosphere is heady. Food for 5000 people is being cooked and served twice a day with the condiments and grain and dal brought by each individual villager and premises given to us by the local Gurdwara. There is a great deal of song and dance and sharing of experiences. Desks for filing complaints and counseling are also being run. Such has been the dire nature of the R&R process in the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams, that more than 11,000 complaints have been prepared and filed with the NHDC in the last 13 days.
Dharna and Fast to continue until all demands are met
The activists sitting on indefinite fast are Krishnabai, Dalit woman from Village Bichola Mal, District Harda, ISP submergence, Surajbai, Dalit woman from Village Bichola Mal, District Harda, ISP submergence, Ashok Sharma, Village Gogalgaon, Omkareshwar dam submergence, Bhagwanbhai Sardar Sarovar submergence, senior activist of the NBA, and Chittaroopa Palit, activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Today is the 11th day of their fast. Their spirits and their resolve to take the struggle to victory is very high. Naturally, however, their health is declining and weakness has come in. Particularly Krishnabai, a frail 32 kgs. is in great pain and is continuously vomiting.
Our main demands in the Indira Sagar area are that
(1) Agricultural land should be provided to the villagers who are facing fresh submergence in the thousands of acres of land now found in the surveys.
(2) All adult sons and adult unmarried daughters of cultivators should be provided land or SRG as directed by the High Court in the Order dated 8.09.2007 and which the State Government is refusing to comply with.
(3) Landless families should be provided 5 acres land in the draw-down of the Indira Sagar reservoir, along with irrigation facilities.
(4) Employment guarantee schemes should be provided in every R&R site such as New Harsud, Kalapatha, Bangarda where people are undergoing starvation.
(5) Thousands of houses that have been deliberately and illegally been left out of the acquisition process after surveys preceding Section 4 Notification and after in many cases the service of notices under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act should be included and compensation and R&R entitlements provided.
(6) Every R&R site should be leveled or where people have already spent thousands of rupees to build plinths in the undulating wastes of the R&R sites, compensation should be paid for the plinth filling.
For Omkareshwar, the demands are
(1) Agricultural land for the cultivators,
(2) land for the adult sons and unmarried adult daughters of the cultivators, as per the R&R Plan of 1993 for the Omkareshwar Project
(3) Land for the landless families as per the condition of the environmental clearance.
(4) Better facilities including sufficient potable water in the R&R sites.
Callousness of the state and the lack of response
Since the beginning of the dharna, the people have been facing the callousness of the State government who have till today not bothered to address the grave concerns of the people or initiate any serious negotiations. On the contrary in the last few days, they have been trying to bring the dharna to a halt. Two days ago, the water supply was stopped for 17 hours. Finally, only when the women blocked the streets, the authorities were forced to resume the water supply. The refusal of the state to respond to the popular struggle is extremely troubling but the people are determined that they will compel the state to accept their demands through democratic struggle.
High Court stipulates land for land
On the 18th of May 2007, in the case of the Omkareshwar dam, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had passed an Order directing that the gates of the dam should not be closed until all the villagers are rehabilitated with agricultural land as per the 1993 R&R Plan of the Project and only after giving them 6 months breathing time after the completion of R&R.
Supreme Court permits dam filling
However the State of Madhya Pradesh and NHDC filed Special Leave Petitions and on the 11th of June, the decision of the High Court was stayed by the Supreme Court without going into the merits of the matter. The State Government and the NHDC stated on affidavit that of the 30 villages affected by the Omkareshwar dam, 25 villages would not be affected by the rise in level up to 189 meters, and the other 5 villages are already vacated.
However, the Supreme Court declined to pass any order on the land question and sent it back to the High Court while disposing off the SLPs. The matter begins in the High Court from the 18th of June, 2007. After the SC decision, the dam gates were closed on the 13th of June. The waters have reached crest level 184 meters in the last two days already and are rising further.
Repression in Omkareshwar villages after SC Order, resistance by people
It may be noted that the in their affidavits in the High Court and Supreme Court, the State Government and the NHDC stated that of the 30 villages, only 5 villages are in the submergence at 189 meters and the other 25 villages will not be affected at 189 meters. Moreover, they also stated that even from these 5 villages, in Gunjari where 22 houses were denied compensation after having been given Section 9 notices not once but twice, would not be affected at 189 meters and its back-waters.
However immediately after the SC order, the State government started severing electricity and water in several villages like Ekhand and Gogalgaon by removing transformers. The villagers are resisting the disconnection of facilities fiercely in the villages. At the same time, on the 13th the people on dharna ghearoed the Khandwa Collectorate and demanded restoration of facilities and removal of police. As a result, the transformers have been re-connected. The villagers have now stated that since it has been said that they will not be affected at 189 meters, no officials should enter their villages.
Gunjari satyagraha begins against illegal submergence
Meanwhile, the 22 houses of Gunjari and several more houses of Bakhatgarh and Sailani and 115 families of Jiroth hamlet of Village Kelwa are likely to be submerged in the next one or two days – Gunjari probably in the next few hours. In the face of the complete denial of their entitlements and the false affidavits of the State and Project authorities, the people of Gunjari have taken a decision to face the waters but not move. The people of the other villages have decided to join them in their satyagraha.
Appeal for support
As you can see, events are unfolding very quickly. Meanwhile the dharna and the indefinite fast continues and is taking its toll on the fasters. You are aware that both Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams are complete and are on the verge of full reservoir filling which will cause full submergence, are only stopped by the stay on the full filling of both these dams because of non-fulfillment of R&R, due to legal intervention by the NBA.
To ensure that this program of struggle against the tyranny and impunity of the NHDC and the State government and the fulfillment of the legal and just rights of the oustees, we need your help and support. We request you to:
Come to Khandwa to extend your support to struggling oustees.
Write to Chief Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh asking them to fulfill the demands of oustees.
Shri Balram Jakhar, Shri Shivraj Singh Chowhan
Governor, Chief Minister,
Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,
Raj Bhawan, Vallabh Bhawan,
Phone: (0755) 4223436/4080300 Phone: (0755) 2441033/2442231
Fax : (0755) 4080112 Fax : (07550 2441781/2540501
Organise support progammes at your places.
We hope, as always, your will extend your full support to ensure the rights of thousands of struggling oustees.
In solidarity ,
Bhagwan Mukati, Alok Agarwal, Chittaroopa Palit, Krishnabai
Khanwa is on main Mumbai – Itarsi rail route
Khandwa is 3 hours by road from Indore
Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk, Khandwa, M.P.
Phone : 094259 -28007, 094253 - 94606
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
*Sardar Sarovar Project begins submerging lands without monsoon to intimidate people*
*Will the Narmada villages be drowned committing contempt of Court, law and people?*
*Will the UPA play to the tunes of Modi government, allowing gates to be erected on Dam?*
NARMADA is rising again, even without monsoon, drowning the fields in adivasi villages due to Sardar Sarovar project, such as Bhadal and Jalsindhi, in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, also of families in Gujarat.
This time too, it threatens to destroy community after community, first of adivasis and their homes and farms of the other farmers in the thickly populated villages in Nimad, M.P What ever was saved due to the Dam kept at 119 mts is to be submerged now since the Dam height has gone up to 122 mts and water in monsoon would rise to a fiery height of 134 mts at the dam site and upto 141 mts in the villages upstream. Drowning the thousands of families to death.
The meeting which was to be called Mr. Narendra Modi on the 7thof January is now scheduled for 19 th of January i.e two days from now*. As is known there are lakhs of people yet to be rehabilitated, there is no land available for the task in Maharashtra as well as Madhya Pradesh and no permission is granted for raising the height to 138.68 mts i.e the full reservoir level, by NCA. However Mr Modi has not hidden the fact that he would like to convince the CMs of other states on the issue of benefits to them and seek their approval to put up the gates. Will the CM of Maharashtra participate in the meeting? Is NCA watching and ready to take the initiative to direct the states against not only putting
up the gates but also regulate the water releases from the upstream dams so
as to stop flooding the adivasi communities and populated villages in Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat?. Will the monitoring agencies including
the Prime Minister, the Minister for Water Resources and Minister for Social
Justice and Empowerment take a firm position in favour of the legal and human rights of the oustees and protect the same as per the mandate from the Narmada Tribunal Award and Supreme Court judgements?. Will the Congress led by Sonia Gandhiji not submit to Mr Modi's agenda to rise with the Dam in his state and beyond?.
It is an established fact that there are about 35,000 families i.e 1.5 lakh people, in the submergence area of 122 mts high dam and as per the official estimates too, it is 25,000 families below 122mts and 15,000 families between 122 and 138.68mts (FRL). There is no land to offer to the eligible families in Madhya Pradesh or Maharashtra or for exchanging the bad lands allotted in Gujarat. The resettlement sites do not have adequate plots and all amenities functioning. If waters are filled it will be a great state conspired tragedy. *Kailash Awasya, an affected adivasi family from village Bhilkheda, Badwani, M.P. has, a few days before, filed a contempt petition before the Supreme Court of India making the heads of the decision making and monitoring bodies the parties, including the NCA, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Sub-Group, the Narmada Valley Development Authority, M.P. and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam as well as Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee, Gujarat.
The petition claims that there is total violation of NWD Tribunal Award and Supreme Court's judgements directing NO SUBMERGENCE WITHOUT REHABILITATION.
The PM's assurance towards the same is not fulfilled nor are recommendations
of the Shunglu committee (OSG) implemented.
The political manipulations and the moves in violation of human rights also appear to be more perverted in the context of the fact that Gujarat has not completed its canal network and not used the waters that were available below 100 mts of Dam height. The achievement on irrigation and drinking water within Gujarat is about 10 % of the planned targets at 110 mts.
The power generated since the dam reached 110 mts height is less than the targets and too irregular. With the gates erected, Maharashtra too will get not more than 1% of its annual consumption of power which can be a no justification for drowning the fields and homes of its adivasis for the rise and prestige of BJP government in Gujarat. The report by official monitoring agency, YASHADA, Pune, has brought out that there are about 900 families yet to be rehabilitated in the state while there are atleast 1000 more families who are to be surveyed for becoming marooned, taken on records and rehabilitated.
Two lakh people continue to reside, life continues to on in this oldest of the river valleys and civilizations in the world, as proved by the pre-history branch of Archaeology, challenging the government on its plans to destroy the valley and pauperize the people.
Medha Patkar, Ashish Mandloi
* Ashish M. 09910353431
* Ashok Sharma 011-26680883 / 26680914
Oustees to move to Bhopal from 30th of June if Government ignores demands
Thousands of people displaced by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams are sitting in the district place of Khandwa since the 4th of June 2007. On the 4th of June, more than twelve thousand persons had taken out a rally in the town and had declared that they were commencing a phase of indefinite struggle which would be concluded only when their demands are met. Today is the twenty first day of the 4 persons who began their indefinite fast from the 6th of June, 2007. However despite the fact that the people had clearly stated their demands and sent their petition with regard to the State Government from the very first day of the struggle, the State government had failed to respond to the demands of the struggle, and had sought to ignore it completely. As a result, the oustees have taken the decision, that if the Government fails to meet the demands of the people by the 29th of June 2007, intensifying the struggle, the people would move to Bhopal to continue their indefinite fast and dharna.
It may be noted that today is the twenty-first day of the fast of the Narmada Bachao Andolan activists Ms. Chittaroopa Palit and Shri Bhagwan Mukati and oustees of the Indira Sagar dam Krishnabai and Surajbai. Despite steady deterioration in their health, the four persons on fast are determined that their fast would continue until the demands of the oustees are met.
The silence and the indifference of the State Government in the last 23 days of the dharna has made it clear that while the State government wishes to deny thousands of oustees of these two dams, especially those of Dalits, tribals and small and marginal farmers their lawful rights, it has also become clear that there is no Rule of Law in the State as the Government itself is flouting the orders of the Courts with impunity. On the 8th of September 2006, the Madhya Pradesh High Court ruled that the adult sons and adult unmarried daughters of cultivators losing more than 25% of their entire holding would be provided a minimum 5 acres of irrigated land or a Special Rehabilitation Grant in lieu. However even after 9 months, the Government is yet to comply with the Order. It is clear that it is in order to provide undue pecuniary advantage to the Company – NHDC that this is being done. Similarly, the denial of the land entitlements to even a single oustee has brought about a situation of large scale starvation and un-employment among the oustees.
The NBA is demanding that alongside providing the cultivator oustees and their adult sons and daughters their land entitlements, the landless families must be given rights over the draw-down land in the submergence, which will open after the monsoons. In addition, the NBA demands that the thousands of houses which have been excluded arbitrarily and without cause after the pre-Section 4 surveys and after Section 9 notifications be acquired as per law, along with villages that will become islands or unlivable. The NBA is also demanding that all the required life-amenities be provided at the R&R sites and that all the outstanding cases of complaints of the oustees about failure to provide the entitlements be immediately resolved. It may be noted that in the last three weeks of the dharna, around 12,000 complaints and claims have been filed with the State Government and the NHDC.
It is unfortunate that despite the fact that the oustees have conveyed their demands with great clarity to the district administration and the NHDC, there is no action on the same. Therefore on the 21st day of the indefinite fast , the NBA declares that if the State Government does not respond to the demands of the oustees for their rights and entitlements by the 29th of June, stepping up the struggle, the oustees would move to Bhopal to carry out the indefinite dharna and fast.
(Vishram Singh Mandloi)
Village Dharaji, Dt. Dewas
Village Ekhand, Dt. Khandwa
Village Bichola Mal, Dt. Harda
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
62-Gandhi Marg, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh-451551
Phone: 07290-222464, E-mail: email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org
Press Release 06.01.2007
• SARDAR SAROVAR AT 122 MTS HEIGHT IS ILLEGAL.
• MAHARASHTRA & M. P. GOVTS SHOULD NOT ALLOW GATES TO BE ERECTED UPTO 138.68 MTS TILL 2 LAKH PEOPLE ARE REHABILITATED
• CONTEMPT OF COURT PETITION FILED IN THE SUPREME COURT.
• ENQUIRY INTO CORRUPTION CHARGES MUST BEGIN.
Narendra Modi, the CM of Gujarat, has made it public that he is inviting the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and the former CMs of Gujarat on 7th of January to convince them of SSP benefits and also the need and readiness to erect the gates on the dam wall of 122 metres. If decided, this will prove to be inhuman and brutal flushing out at least 2 lakh people residing in the SSP affected region in the 3 states. This should not be allowed!
Kailash Awasya, a project affected adivasi, has filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court on January 4th 2007 claiming total violation of Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award, SC judgments and PM’s assurance to the Court in July and October 2006. Managing Director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., Chairperson, Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee, Chairperson, Narmada Valley Development Authority, Madhya Pradesh, Chairperson, NCA (Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources) and Chairperson, R&R Sub-Group (Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice) are the officials who are accused of contempt and made parties.
During 3 days long sit-in (Jan 2-4) by 500 adivasis and farmers, men and women and children from the Narmada valley, the people struggling for last 21 years have got an assurance from the Chairman, NCA, Smt Gauri Chatterjee, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources that NCA has not and will not allow the Sardar Sarovar gates to be put up on the wall of 122 mts. If the gates are erected, the height will reach 138.68 mts and it’s known and proved through a number of surveys including one by Shunglu Committee (Oversight Group) appointed by the Prime Minister that there are 25,000 families in the submergence area of MP alone and large number of ‘major sons’ as separate families are yet to be added to the list. We have repeatedly asserted that there are at least 35,000 families in the 122 metre-affected areas in the 3 states. Rehabilitation is not in sight since M.P has no cultivable land to offer and special rehabilitation package as compensation has led to huge corruption but not land purchase by most of the PAFs. Others, including all adivasis of Jhabua have refused to accept SRP as an option and demand land allotment by the government. They have, through not one but many petitions and applications challenged the legality of SRP itself.
In Maharashtra too, there are a few thousand families including the recorded, the undeclared and those residing or farming in the area to be marooned, as proved from Yashada, Pune’s report, 2006. Those at the resettlement sites also face many difficulties including no land demarcation, no irrigation and inadequate civic amenities.
In Gujarat too, there are hundreds of adivasis strangulated due to bad land allotted or no land allotted till date. Those affected by Project (Kevadia) colony, canals and now the newly planned Tourism and Garudeshwar reservoir are not least rehabilitated.
In this situation, no erection of gates can be allowed, the Central Authorities agreed in our meetings. The PM too had promised a complete review and compliance on rehabilitation before further construction while submitting the Shunglu Committee report to the Supreme Court. A mere meeting based review has taken place and the minutes of the same also indicate non-compliance and at least 34,000 families as yet not shifted to the rehabilitation sites an residing in the submergence area. There is thus no question of raising or completing the dam, at this stage if R&R has to precede submergence.
In any case, the dam at 110 mts itself has not performed up to the mark. Only 10% of 2500 benefited villages have received somewhat regular drinking water while all 8265 villages could have got it at that height. When it was claimed that 5.5 lakh hectares would be irrigated then, only 57000 hectares could be. The expected power at 110 mts was not generated and the calculations show that with gates the benefit to Maharashtra would be only to the extent of .2% of the state’s present annual consumption. M. Pradesh too will receive meager benefits while these two states and their vulnerable population in lakhs are to receive massive losses and face deprivation. Is this worth the human distress?
Last monsoon, Gujarat got heavy rainfall & destructive floods resulting in no water release into canal during monsoon. That water too is not fully used. Moreover, Gujarat has started allocating large amount of water and land to the corporates such as Reliance in the command area of SSP indicating that there is no urgency and primacy for water to the people as was claimed.
Ending their Delhi dharna after holding discussions with the ministries, the people have retuned to the valley with a vow, not to run away, take up the challenge and stay on the land till just and complete rehabilitation is attained. NBA has also filed a detailed complaint with concrete cases of corruption related to the manipulated record of oustees, fraudulent land purchases in Madhya Pradesh and demanded a serious enquiry through the Central Vigilance Commission.
Ashish Mandloi Clifton Rozario Yogini Khanolkar Medha Patkar
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
62 M.G. ROAD, BADWANI, (M.P.)
MAINTAINABILITY OF NCCL PETITION CHALLENGED
While hearing the petition filed in 2006 by Shri N.C. Saxena through National Council for Civil Liberties [NCCL], a Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice C. K. Thakkar and Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta today (12th February 2007) recorded that the very maintainability of the petition needs examination. The bench, however, allowed the Union of India, State of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to file their responses.
Ms Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, appearing for the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) contended that the Writ Petition filed under Article 32 is an abuse of the process of law. No such petition under the cover of Public Interest Litigation can be filed which seeks to settle personal vendetta. She pointed that in the year 2001, a petition on the very same grounds was filed before the Gujarat High Court, which was disposed of in the same year. The petitioner, after 5 years has filed a petition before the Supreme Court on the same material, choosing the time when the Supreme Court is considering the grievances of the oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project. The Writ Petition filed by N. C. Saxena was found to contain too general and theoretical questions and was therefore, withdrawn by him. He however, chose to file another petition on the basis of the so-called final report of 2001, by saying that he got these crucial documents after the withdrawal of the Writ Petition, when the same document was very much within his knowledge and possession. When the NBA filed a detailed reply exposing the baselessness and malicious nature of the petition, Mr. Saxena in the Rejoinder repeated the very same allegations, which were taken by him in the year 2001.
It was also argued by Ms Jaising that the judgments of the Supreme Court in the year 2000 and 2005 vindicated the stand taken by NBA with regard to the grievances of oustees and that the resettlement and rehabilitation ought to be on better footing, land based and is part of Article 21 of the Constitution. How then, that subject matter can be made the basis of petition under Article 32 by Mr. Saxena? The Supreme Court will be hearing the question of maintainability of the petition after six weeks.
SSP AFFECTED ADIVASIS SERVE NOTICE UNDER SC/ST ATROCITIES ACT
Sardar Sarovar affected adivasis and farmers continue to occupy and cultivate the land which they have themselves got allotted. Total 90 acres of land is now being brought under cultivation since July 13, 2007 and increasing number of people are supporting these rightful cultivators. The landless, widow, fish workers….who are left out of the lists of PAFs by the corrupt officials are turning to the Satyagraha for registering their names as well as to protest. The unity of farmers, of fish workers, of landowners and landless will take the battle forward.
While the official reaction to the 'Satyagraha' is mainly of considering it to be a law and order problem, Andolan is of a firm view that the government, with all the concerned authorities, is the one who has broken the law. The hundreds of adivasis and families whose land got submerged due to Sardar Sarovar years back are facing destitution and hence the officials responsible are declared culprits.
Today, adivasis of Kharya Bhadal village whose land is destroyed, some houses submerged and yet no cultivable land is offered to them as yet, have served a notice to the M.P. Government through the collector against the Rehabilitation Officer (NVDA, Badwani), Land Acquisition Officer (Badwani), Commisioner (NVDA, Indore) and Director of Rehabilitation, NCA under sec 80 of CPC for destroying their main source of livelihood. The demands in the notice are as follows:
i) According to the Supreme Court orders and policy the PAFs should be allotted housing plots and agricultural land.
ii) BPL cards should be issued to the PAFs and cheap and affordable food grains at fair price shop rate.
iii) Any other facilities that are entitled to the PAFs should be given under the Rehabilitation Policy.
Vahriya Manya, Jahriya Manya, Shobharam Chenda, Atya Kanya, Sutarya Kanya, Kishore Mangliya are the adivasis who have filed an FIR under Scheduled Caste – Scheduled Tribes / Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 in Badwani Thana against – Land Acquisition Officer (NVDA, Badwani), Rehabilitation Officer (Badwani) and Collector (Badwani). They have claimed that their tilled land is already affected and hence they are left with meager or no income. This is impingement upon right to life of these adivasi families. Atya Kania, alone was paid Rs.10,000 by cheque by Tahasildar, Badwani, wrongly treating the loss as due to natural calamity. While at least 30 families in the same village are already affected. The complainant further has reported that their ration shop is kept at a distance of 37 Kms of fair price grocery and is made available very irregularly i.e. once in six months. This is gross violation of their right to food & related orders of the Supreme Court as well.
Satyagrahis are determined to take the crop while the NVDA and NCA are also asked to respond to all the demand including land based rehabilitation, compensation for loss of boats, fishing nets, motor pumps (submerged), fishing rights to fish workers and recording & granting various rights and entitlements of all.
Medha Patkar Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Kamla Yadav
Click the link below to view slide show of scenes from Taloon land Occupation site. Once you enter the page, just click 'play'.
Today is the second day of the land occupation of Government seed farm (near Badwani, M.P.). Hundreds of adivasis, farmers, fisherfolk families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam participate in this ‘satyagraha’ with increased vigour and commitment. The adivasis from Jhabua district (M.P.) who have lost land to the reservoir are here to assert their rights.
Since neither Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) nor the administration gave a final approval to allocation of land, which people did identify and demanded to be purchased by the Government, the adivasis decided to take the responsibility and task of distributing land up to themselves. Adivasis of Kakrana, Jhandana, Anjanwada, Bhitada, Kharya Bhadal are busy cultivating the new land occupied, even when the Collector, Badwani threatened of legal action. Hundreds of Nimad farmers, with best of agriculture and horticulture, are raising their voices against the lost motor pumps and any raising of the dam height.
Movement of the slum displaced from Mumbai, Nandurbar - Maharashtra, Indore (M.P.) sent their representatives to extend their support.
It's shocking that the Collector, Badwani only thinks of our actions as illegal and not of the legal, Constitutional and human rights violations involved, in drowning our land and houses, destroying our social, cultural heritage and encroaching upon our livelihoods, destitutionalizing us. We are aware of our right to life, to livelihood, to land for the same.
We can't remain silent and peaceful anymore, when more than 2 lakh people are still residing in the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Dam alone. When the state is callous and ready to drown us, we can't merely protest through this Satyagraha but also acquire what is our due.
The Collector, Badwani talked to the Press indicating the Government's duty to apply law and evict us to vacate their land. He only sent the SDM and Tehsildar who were openly questioned by the people yesterday. Today, they all seem to be getting ready to the use of force against us. Eviction is nothing new, but here that would mean "government has no resolution in mind, it has no land even to offer, leave aside allot!"
Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Khajan Bhai Medha Patkar
Fast enters ninth day
State Repression Begins in the Name of Supreme Court Order
Demonstration against State repression outside the Collectorate
Sit-in (dharna) of thousands displaced by Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams entered 11th day and indefinite fast of 5 persons entered 9th day today. Today is also the 3rd day of 3-day fast of 41 affected people. In the meanwhile, after receiving permission to fill water up to 189 m level in Omkareshwar dam, the administrative repression began in violation of the state's own affidavits. Andolan will file a special petition against this in the Supreme Court. Today several key activists and organizations working in various regions of Narmada Valley came and expressed solidarity with the ongoing struggle.
In their affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on 11th June 2007, the State Government and NHDC informed that only 5 villages - Bakhatgarh, Sailani, Gunjari, Rampura and Paldi - will be affected due to back-water when water is filled up to 189 m, and remaining 25 villages will not face any submergence. A day after getting permission on this basis the government's reality is beginning to get exposed. Yesterday, the police persons entered Ekhand and Ghotalgaon villages and removed the electricity transformers. In village Sukwa they could not remove transformers due to protest by the villagers. Tehsildar came to villages Toki and Ghogalgaon to inform that those villages will get submerged by water. Today some officials along with police persons came to the village Dharaji. All these are the villages that will not face submergence as per the State's claim.
All affected people sitting in the dharna at Khandwa walked into the Collectorate and demonstrated against the above-mentioned repression and demanded that the exercise of cutting off electricity should stop, police should not be sent to the villages, and electricity connections must be re-establish wherever they have been cut. After the demonstration a concerned officer reported that electricity is being connected again in places where it was cut. The people pledged that they will not tolerate any kind of injustice and repression.
On the 9th day of indefinite fast, the fasters - Chittaroopa Palit, Bhagwan Mukati, Krishna Bai, Suraj Bai and Ashok Chaturvedi - have lost some weight and their daily medical check-up by the doctor continues.
Alok Agrawal Dharmraj Jain
Struggle against Government atrocities is inevitable: Medha
The officials responsible for false affidavits will be brought to book
Medha Patkar, senior activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan, who reached the dharna site at Khandwa (MP) today addressed the dharna and a press conference. She said that when the atrocities by the government and administration reached its limits, struggle becomes inevitable. It is the same situation in Madhya Pradesh today.
She said that the government that is creating a facade of celebrations of the centenary year of Gandhian satyagraha and the 75th anniversary of Bhagat Singh's martyrdom, has not even bothered to find out what are the demands of the real satyagrahis who have put their lives at stake and are on a hunger strike since 20 days.
Medha wondered how the governments capable of destroying a whole live river eco-system do not have the wherewithal to even rehabilitate one displaced village. Leave alone the Bargi and Tawa dams, even the people displaced by the Bhakra Nangal dam in 1954 have not yet been rehabilitated.
The claim to solve the electricity crisis with the help of projects like Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar and Maheshwar has proved to be a mirage, she added. To destroy the stable sources of bio-energy for a pittance of electricity generation is anyways a fool's paradise. She saluted the Gunjari satyagrahis and said that as long as this cycle of destruction does not stop, the Andolan will also continue to challenge it.
The government willingly pays in lakhs to the lawyers to be able to save a few thousands payable to the displaced., she opined.
Sardar Sarovar affected Ms Shanta Behan of village Pipri (Badwani) said that we will never compromise our land and our freedom.
Senior Andolan activist Ms Chittaroopa Palit, now on 20th day of her fast, said that we are struggling here with issues of land for land and land for adult sons and unmarried adult daughters as per rehabilitation policy. We will never allow the government to allot the draw-down land of the Indira Sagar reservoir to foreign companies.
Earlier Alok Agrawal, senior Andolan activist pointed out that each and every family has grievances against the NHDC. He informed that in the last 20 days over 12000 such complaints have been recorded. He also raised the issue of filing false affidavits to deprive the displaced of their just rights and declared that the Andolan would initiate legal action against the offending officials.
He also questioned why the Omkareshwar plant, inspite of submerging 5 villages, was unable to even test electricity production?
Gajraj Singh, Dharamraj Jain
Submergence Without Resettlement in Gunjari
Gross violation of affidavits filed in the Supreme Court
It's just the second day of the reservoir filling and water has already started entering houses which did not undergo land-aquisition process in village Gunjari. Project affected people have started Satyagraha. Seven women are sitting in rising water. It is evident from this submergence that false affidavits were filed in the Supreme Court. At the same time the timetable announced by the state government has also been grossly violated. Thousands of project affected persons from Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dam are continuing their Dharna in Khandwa and the indefinite hunger strike has entered the tenth day.
In the affidavit filed by the state government and NHDC during Supreme Court hearing, it was clearly stated that 22 families of Gunjari village are way above even the backwater level at 189 metre submergence. So there is no way they would be submerged. But water entered Shri Radheshyam's house as the water level rose to 182 meter. It is evident that false affidavits have been filed in the Supreme Court.
Not only this, state government had given permission on 28th March 2007 on the condition that water level would be increased upto 189 meters in stages. According to this time table water level was to increase upto Crest level (179.6) in five days, but water was raised to this level within one day. Water was to be filled only during day time but it is being done during night as well. Hence once again the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court is being violated.
Satyagraha has been taken up in village Gunjari against this illegal and inhuman submergence. People have gathered from all over and seven women are sitting in the rising water.
And the indefinite hunger strike has entered 10th day during the Dharna by thousands of project affected people of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects. Forty persons started a three-day hunger strike today in support of the demands and in solidarity towards the indefinite hunger strike undertaken by five.
Telefax : 0733 - 2228418/2270014
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The 37 day historic fast ends with a call for further struggle
Andolan will monitor the rehabilitation process closely
The rights of all the displaced people will be ensured on the ground and in the court of law
The displaced people will return to Bhopal on September 30th
Tata Institute will start a legal aid and counseling centre
A panel of eminent citizens will watch over the whole rehabilitation process
The historic struggle of the displaced people of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects and the indefinite fast of senior Narmada Bachao Andolan activists Ms Chittaroopa Palit and Shri Bhagwan Mukati was called off today with a call to continue with the struggle on the ground. The Andolan has declared that it will take up all the issues of rehabilitation and rights of the displaced people on the ground and in the court of law till September 30th. On September 30th 2007, tens of thousands the affected people will gather in Bhopal again.
It is to be noted here that about 15000 affected people of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects gathered took out a massive rally in Khandwa on June 4th and started their indefinite dharna. The indefinite hunger strike was started on June 6th and was called off today, on its 37th day, with a call to take ahead the struggle on the ground and in the courts.
On the one hand this historic struggle has brought the strong determination and resolve of the affected people to the centre of the entire world's attention, on the other it has also revealed the insensitivity and indifference of the government. By not implementing rules and laws from the Land Acquisition Act to Honorable High Court's orders, it has been proven that there is no rule of law in the state of Madhya Pradesh. On one hand the government offers empty promises of "sensitively looking into" matters on the issue of most of the demands raised by the displaced people, on the other hand the reality of the village level camps will be seen on the ground in the time to come.
Narmada Bachao Andolan declares that it will closely watch this entire process in minute detail and ensure that all the rights of the displaced people are achieved either through struggle in the valley or through the courts.
Struggle goes on:
The Andolan declares that the struggle will go on till each and every right of each displaced person is achieved. The affected people will unfurl flags of struggle in each village, take out prabhat pheris and keep alight the lamp of the movement till this is achieved. They will come back to Bhopal in tens of thousands on September 30th.
Eminent Citizens to Watch over the Rehabilitation Process:
Many eminent citizens of the country took a special initiative today and declared that they watch over the entire process of rehabilitation of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams and ensure that each displaced person gets his or her full rights. This People's Monitoring Committee will comprise of former Judge of Mumbai High Court Justice Suresh, former member of Planning Commission Shri LC Jain, ex-Chair person National Commission of Women Ms Mohini Giri, senior journalist Shri Prabhash Joshi and Director of Centre for Science and Environment Ms Sunita Narain.
Tata Institute to start Legal Aid and Counseling Centre in Khandwa:
The Director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Shri S. Parasuraman has written a letter to the Andolan saying that the Tata Institute will take an initiative to involve other legal and social organisations and law colleges and universities to start a Legal Aid and Counseling Centre in Khandwa. This centre will function to ensure that every displaced person receives his/her full compensation and other R&R benefits.
The willful breaking of Narmada promises Without an iota of public debate and due process, Gujarat had increased allocation of Narmada waters for industry five fold last year, eating into the share of drought affected villages. The Comptroller and Auditor General reported this in 2007, finding it untenable.
Himanshu Upadhyaya has more.
India Together, May 22nd 2007,
On 30 March 2007, The Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report on Gujarat (commercial) entered the public domain. The report indicted the Gujarat state government for non-accrual of stated benefits from Sardar Sarovar Project.
April is the cruelest month, wrote T S Eliot in his poem, The Waste Land. Discourse over Narmada is going through dry land this April. During April last summer, we witnessed the Sardar Sarovar dam wall rising despite protests from oustees and the courts very reluctantly listening to arguments on unfulfilled rehabilitation. Unlike that, this year we witness a deadly silence on CAG's comments.
The audit findings reported that in deviation from the Master Plan, the Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited (GWIL) had commissioned and executed the 'Narmada Main Canal – Gandhinagar' project at a cost of Rs.39.39 crores for supplying 255 MLD water to Gandhinagar
city, a thermal power station at Gandhinagar, etc. at the cost of depriving drought prone regions. Further, it was found that while going by Indian Standard (IS) code of basic requirement for water supply, drainage and sanitation, the domestic water requirement for Gandhinagar should have been 49 MLD, the city had actually received 90.10 MLD of Narmada water, i.e. almost double of standard requirement.
Four years ago, most of our media have dutifully followed Gujarat's chief minister Narendra Modi's announcing, "Narmada water has reached Kachchh." Now, comments in the audit report throw light on the holes that have started to appear in those illusive images. The audit also points out that in deviation from the Master Plan that envisaged supply of 232 Million Litres per Day (MLD) water for Kachchh, of which 45 MLD was meant for industrial use, industries in Kachchh were actually allotted 61.91 MLD water (more than one third excess allocation than what was envisaged in Master Plan) as per figures available as on 31 March 2006.
The CAG pointed this out in July 2006. Without naming individual officials, the audit report says that the management of GWIL and the Gujarat Government replied that the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited had in May 2006 increased the allocation for industrial water from 0.2 MAF (674 MLD) to a whopping 1.0 MAF (3369 MLD) from which the excess allocation would be adjusted. The increase took place without an iota of public debate. This is what the report has brought to the public eye.
During the year 2003-'04, it slowly came to be known that Gujarat had invented a mechanism to hide the costs for the realisation of 'municipal and industrial' water consumption from Narmada dam, by taking the expenditure incurred on the laying of pipelines on the books of Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board and Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited. During the performance audit of Sardar Sarovar Canal based Narmada Drinking water pipeline for Amreli, Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad districts in the year 2003-'04 and for Jamnagar, Kachchh and Rajkot districts in the year 2004-'05, the CAG has detected a sudden shift in Gujarat's priorities. The audit revealed the grim reality that a lion's share is now being earmarked for industrial consumption, thus depriortising drinking water for drought affected villages.
Coming back to the 2006 increase, what is the rationale for such an upward revision, that too surreptitiously? As per the governing Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal award, out of 9.00 Million Acre Feet of Narmada water allocated to Gujarat, 1.06 MAF Narmada water was meant for "municipal and industrial use". But, how much within this allocation was meant for industrial consumption itself? As presentations before World Bank's Independent Review Mission headed by Bradford Morse suggest the industrial consumption was going to be 0.20 MAF. That left 0.86 MAF for municipal and domestic consumption.
What is most puzzling is why no questions are being asked on what consequences would the decrease in municipal and domestic allocation – from 0.86 MAF to 0.06 MAF – have on the villages that were promised Narmada water. Again if the decision was taken in the month of May 2006 and was being used to justify deviations from Master Plan, why was there no debate in public domain over this? Why do we witness precious Narmada water flowing to Gandhinagar, Vadodara and Ahmedabad, when propaganda repeatedly presented it as the last saviour for drought prone villages of Saurashtra and Kachchh?
It must be noted also that the number of villages promised Narmada water for domestic consumption went from zero in 1979, to 4720 villages in 1983-'84, and then to 7235 villages in 1990, and further to 8215 villages and 135 towns in the year 1992. All along this time, the figure of water allocated for municipal and domestic consumption remained stagnant at 0.86 MAF. And now even this allocation seems to have been cut into.
It were these drinking water benefits from the Narmada that were wielded around during early 90s to sweep aside criticism of the project on the social and environmental costs. That was the phase of government propaganda and its contestation. On the one hand, the state government embarked on the mission to enlist support of all the regions of Gujarat by invoking the emotive power of thirst and discourse breaking power of hate speech, while on the other hand critics raised questions on whether the stated benefits could ever materialise, given the mammoth financial vortex the project would create.
The CAG report has exposed the truth of who is actually getting the water, and in what proportion, on the backs of the original promises. Ironically, this year, even as the audit report came out, allegations against Narmada Bachao Andolan were flying high on the print space and airwaves. The report almost went unnoticed amidst this cacophony.
Discourse over the Narmada demands to be retrieved and questions need to be asked not merely on the costs and impacts front, but also on what is unfolding on benefits front. There still remain as many questions unanswered as probably were in early 90s. The costs paid by upstream catchment dwellers will soon shift to inhabitants of drought-prone regions if they fail to ask those questions now.
From October 2000 onwards, when the apex court granted a go-ahead for the dam construction, oustees and critics of the project have been pushed to the wall where they can only shout back by putting on record unfulfilled rehabilitation. On the other hand, state governments and proponents have had a free hand at using the shield of fait accompli. They do not feel answerable to criticisms on tracks other than rehabilitation. This must change.
Unlike what Amita Baviskar asks in the second edition of her book, In the Belly of the River, by raising a question, "Did NBA bite more than it can chew?", the only party that seems to be taking in more than it can swallow appears to be Gujarat. Regime after regime has solely concentrated on raising the dam height, without actually taking its waters to the proverbial last man.
CAG GRILLS GOVT FOR DIVERSION
Narmada water project leaves drought-prone areas thirsty
Executed, commissioned sub-project not covered under master plan
D P Bhattacharya
Ahmedabad, April 1: DESPITE all the brouhaha over Narmada water reaching drought-prone areas in the state, as was envisioned in the master plan of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Main Canal-based Bulk Water Transmission Project, the Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited (GWIL) had diverted the much-awaited water to Gandhinagar and oversupplied it to industries in Kutch, leaving the nearby areas thirsty.
The CAG report on GWIL says, the company diverted 255 MLD (million litres per day) to Gandhinagar city and allocated more water to the industries in the arid Kutch district than was originally planned for. The water, which was originally meant for supply to drought-prone areas will now have an adverse effect on the drinking-water scenario of the arid district by 2021, the report states.
The project envisaged supply of water to drought-prone areas of Saurashtra, Kutch, north Gujarat and Panchmahal, benefiting 2.92 crore people across 8,215 villages and 135 towns by 2021. GWIL was incorporated in 1999 to implement 13 out of total 39 sub-projects under the main project and involving a length of 811 km out of the total 2,700 km project.
It says, GWIL had executed and commissioned sub-project NC-14 at a cost of Rs 39.39 crore for supplying 255 MLD water to Gandhinagar city, Thermal Power Station (TPS), Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL) at Gandhinagar and others, which were not covered under the master plan.
Though the government had tried to justify the diversion saying that this had benefited Gandhinagar, TPS and GSECL, CAG found it untenable as the project aimed at water supply to drought-prone areas identified in the master plan. CAG further observed that 90.10 MLD water was allocated for domestic use in Gandhinagar, when according to Indian Standard (IS) Code of basic requirement for water supply, drainage and sanitation for the city should have been 49 MLD.
The “incorrect estimation led to excess provision of 41.10 MLD water at the cost of drought-prone areas,” the report added. It was further observed that while “the master plan for the project had envisaged allocation of 232 MLD water for Kutch district, including 45 MLD water for industrial use. The excess allocation would reduce water for domestic use in Kutch by 2021”, the report stated.
CAG further noted that as the company supplied water to local bodies, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar Municipal Corporations emerged as two major defaulters with outstanding dues of Rs 4.80 crore and Rs 3.27 crore respectively. “Non-realisation of old dues from BMC and JMC alone had resulted in loss of interest of Rs 2.57 crore for the period up to March 2006”, the report observed.
“Besides, the company has failed to evolve an effective pricing policy which had adversely affected the financial viability of the company”, it added.
• Mr. Modi's dedication, not of benefits or rehabilitation nor the Project but merely power turbines, is a political farce.
• SSP stopped at 122 mts cannot reach the full height since rehabilitation is not in sight.
• Centre must review the project with socio-economic-environmental impacts and massive corruption proved.
It is just unfortunate and totally unjust that CM of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi restoring to one more act of fooling people of Gujarat and nation as a whole. Mr. Modi dedicated to nation, the power turbines of Sardar Sarovar Project and not the project itself or even the benefits, which are far from completion and achievements. The people all over the country, who have watched the struggle and challenge the falsehood that helped push the giant Dam of Sardar Sarovar to 122 mts, should very well know that the turbines which were brought from Sumitoto and Hitashi, two of the Japanese companies as per the condition put forward by Bilateral Development Assistance agencies of Japan, have not been functional or up to the mark as yet. Both the power houses - River Bed Power House (RBPH) and Canal Head Power House (CHPH) have generated much less power and much costlier power than was expected at 110 meters of dam height itself.
Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, who are to get only power and not a drop of water, are sacrificing their generation old adivasi and farmer communities, prime agricultural lands and thousands of crores of rupees till date, while a huge investment is yet to occur, with balance of financial liabilities and affected families in their account. It is to be noted that Sardar Sarovar has not yet come on the list of projects providing power to Maharashtra as per the official documents of MSEB.
Madhya Pradesh, where thickly populated villages and townships are thrown into the affected area of the dam at the present height of 122 metres, also has not received the real power beyond negligible minimum. This has happened because, in spite of height raised to110 mts during monsoon of 2006, Gujarat govt. could not use water in the reservoir for producing power in Canal Head Power House. The reason was the fear of villages on canal banks getting drowned with breaches in the canal, carrying not just water but also corruption.
With the farcical celebration of the so-called dedication of turbines, the government has also restored to fake publicity through advertising, spending lakhs of rupees from the public exchequer. Just as the promises of Rehabilitation over years have not come true in case of thousands of Sardar Sarovar Project affected families, the promise of 1450 MW also cannot be. This being the generation capacity (installed capacity) at Full Reservoir Level, which is to be at 138.68 mts, cannot be achieved at either 122 mts or even at the full height. The claims of government of Gujarat regarding power generation are unwarranted and in discrepancy with the calculations of Central Electricity Authority, which is actually only half of what Gujarat government claims. The actual generated power has always been less than generating capacity (in any hydro power project) and in the case of Sardar Sarovar, it has to start with 439 MW and within years, will come down to 50 MW, once irrigation targets in Gujarat are achieved. The conflict between irrigation and power in any Multi Purpose Project is well known to the country, which will be much more in case of Sardar Sarovar, with inter state conflicts that are bound to infest Sardar Sarovar sooner or later.
Mr. Modi could not dare gift Irrigation, even the whole project, obviously because the project is far from being completed. More than 40,000 families still await full and complete Rehabilitation as per law and court judgment and hence continue to live in their lands, under threat of submergence.
The permission to raise height, even if by putting gates, is not and cannot be given by Central agencies, including Rehabilitation Sub-group of NCA. It is revealed from the reports of few of the research organizations of Gujarat that mere 10% of drinking and irrigation targets claimed at 110 mts could be achieved by state. People of Kutch and Surat are deprived, not of non-performance of water supply network but also because of distributive in-justice. The later reason has come to be worse, with transfer of water and land in command area of SSP to corporates first, before the drought affected farmers and others, who were made to await the mirage of Narmada all through these decades. It is in this context that Gujarat Congress, the government and the authorities at the Center must show the rational and political acumen not to support the political agenda of Mr. Modi, rather should expose false claims of benefits and Rehabilitation both. When central authorities have power and responsibility to ensure justice to oustees before submergence and even withdraw the sanctions to a project as well its financial support through Planning Commission, beyond the boycott of dedication function of Mr Modi. It could do good if along with:
a) Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) undertake with Planning Commission and update the Cost-Benefits of 40,000 crore project i.e. Sardar Sarovar
b) MoWR does not sanction any further funds under its Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, much criticized by CAG.
c) Not allow any further work at the Dam site including erection of gates if no legal and justice based Rehabilitation is in sight for thousands of families i.e. a few lakhs of people in the river valley, the oldest of civilization.
d) Ministry of Environment send special team to review compliances put forth as on the Environment compensation measures as pre-conditions in the project clearance, which too are only on paper.
e) Direct Ministry of Social Justice to ensure immediate allotment of land and establishment of R&R sites for already affected and to be immediately affected adivasis and farmer communities.
f) Undertake CBI enquiry into huge corruption in the name of Rehabilitation and compensation, which is proved through documents by NBA.
Noorji Padvi, Yogini Khanolkar, Chetan Salve,
Ashish Mandloi, Medha Patkar
ADIVASIS BEGIN CO-OPERATIVE AGRICULTURE IN OCCUPIED LANDS
GOVERNMENT PREPARING TO FILE CASES AGAINST SATYAGRAHIS
The adivasis affected by Sardar Sarovar dam have begun cultivating the lands they have occupied on July 13th in Taloon, near Badwani, M.P. 50 acres have been measured and divided among more than hundred families and they have started co-operative farming. 5 acres are set apart for fisherfolk families who were doing river-bed cultivation. More areas will be measured and cultivated in the coming days during this brave action to assert land rights.
Adivasis from Alirajpur (Jhabua district), who have been demanding lands in Madhya Pradesh, their own state (NWDT Award allows this choice) were offered either cash compensation or lands in Gujarat! All these years they have been denied this and were fighting for lands near their kith and kin. How long should they wait for their just, legally rightful demands to be met?
Khajanbhai and Vesta Dediya of Anjanwada, Ratanbhai of Sugat, Surban of Kakrana, Gokhru of Karya Badal, Kuman Singh of Bhitada and scores of others are determined to assert their right to life and land and send a message across to the insensitive authorities. Madubhai of Chikhalda and others have joined them as Nimad and Adivasi areas together initiate this land occupation action, integral to Satyagraha. Each day, villages in Nimad take turns in providing food at the Satyagraha site.
Today, the Collector, Badwani gave a statement that case will be filed against 17 persons on charges of violation of law and order and illegal occupation! Who will file a case against the governing authorities for violation of the fundamental rights of adivasis by illegally submerging their lands and houses for the last 13 years, without providing alternative livelihood? We assert that they deserve to be sued under the Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act.
Farmers and peasants in Nimad have filed hundreds of applications at the Satyagraha site regarding the motor pumps which got submerged and destroyed due to sudden release of water from upstream dams. The National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) is responsible for this calamity.
The Chief Minister of M.P., during a press conference in Khargone stated today that “Narmada agitation is meaningless”. It is no surprise that people who have accumulated sufficiently and more to fill their bellies do not understand the meaning of the struggle for life and livelihood. But adivasis, dalits, fisherfolk, peasants and farmers do understand this painful fact.
With preparations to file cases against Satyagrahis and divert issue, it is obvious that this gap in understanding people’s real issues will intensify the conflict. We once again demand land-based rehabilitation and no more illegal submergence of people in the valley.
Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Medha Patkar
14 July 2007
The land occupation action near Badwani (M.P.), about which you have already been updated, has exposed a very serious situation with regard to rehabilitation of SSP affected families in Madhya Pradesh. Government does not have sufficient cultivable lands for allotment to Project Affected Families (PAFs). Hence they have been resorting to the illegal cash compensation.
Now, M.P. government may resort to forcefully evict the people from the occupied lands and then continue to play the deceptive game, violating the legal rights of the affected families. The new action has drawn much attention of the common people to this 'land-base' created.
If this conveys to you a major step ahead, DO WRITE to
Sonia Gandhi - "Save adivasis, save land and river",
Saif-ud-din Soz - "Save people, by not raising dam height, send NCA team for investigation and dialogue”.
To NCA, Mr. Afroz Ahmed, Director (Rehabilitation) – “hold dialogue with the agitators; compel the state government to ensure that people get their due land and every other right.
Also to Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Prime Minister of India and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister. (Contacts given below)
DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE, AT THE EARLIEST, INCLUDING SENDING VOLUNTEERS.
Medha Patkar Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Khajan Bhai
SAMPLE LETTER BELOW:
The situation in the Narmada valley demands your urgent attention. The people affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam have been agitating for the last 22 years, demanding land-based rehabilitation, which is their legal right.
When thousands of hectares of lands are acquired and given for SEZs and other Mega Projects, why there are no cultivable lands to allot to the people displaced by Sardar Sarovar dam, especially in Madhya Pradesh?
I urge you to take a pro-active step and ensure land-based rehabilitation to the SSP affected families. There should be thorough investigation of facts with people’s participation and democratic dialogue with agitators, instead of use of force.
No more destructive submergence in the valley during this monsoon. Permission should not be given to raise the gates of the SSP until all families affected at 122 meters of the dam height are declared and resettled as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) award and Supreme Court orders.
Ms. Sonia Gandhi
The Chairperson, Indian National Congress
Fax: 011 23018651
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shri Saif-ud-din Soz
Water Resources Minister
Fax: 91-11-23714200, 11-23714663, 11-23711780 (off), 11-23782032 11-23782034 (res)
E-Mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
DR. AFROZ AHMED
Director (I.A.& R.)
Ph: 0731-2558603, Fax: 0731-2554333
Shri Shivraj Singh Chowhan
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
Fax: +91-755-2540501; +91-755-2551781
Shri Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister of India
Fax: 011 23019817, 23016996 ®
E-Mail email@example.com, http://pmindia.nic.in/write.htm
Ms Meira Kumar
Minister of Social Justice& Empowerment
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001 (India)
Ph: 011- 2338 1001, 2338 1390
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Pervin - 09820636335
Suniti S.R. - 020-24251404
Philip - 09446573795
Delhi Forum - 011-26680883
Villagers refuse to vacate inundated village
Khandwa (MP), June 18: People in a Madhya Pradesh village have refused to vacate their houses after a nearby dam has flooded the low-lying areas.
Villagers of Gunjari village in Khandwa District of Madhya Pradesh are suffering from man-made flood as the closure of the gates of Omkareshwar dam.
Women of Gunjari stood in knee-deep water for hours, as a mark of protest.
Omkareshwar dam project is one of a series of large dams that are being built on River Narmada.
Villagers began the protest after water entered in the low lying villages of the area after administration closed sluiced and radial gates of the dam for filling the reservoir up to a height of 189 meters following Supreme Court's orders of June 11.
Residents said that they would not vacate the villages until a proper rehabilitation facility is provided by the administration.
"They told us that we are outsiders -- we don't belong to this place. We have given them proof, this is our birthplace, we have studied and grown up here but they are refusing to believe us. Water level is rising. We will die here only, we have no other option," one of the villagers said
Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.
Telefax : 0733 - 2228418/2270014
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
• SUPREME COURT DISMISSES CASE AGAINST NBA ON FOREIGN FUNDING, VIOLENCE, SEDITION CHARGES
• TELLING BLOW TO THE ATTEMPTS AT DEFAMING AND DEMORALISING PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS WITH FALSE AND BASELESS ALLEGATIONS
• VICTORY OF TRUTH, NON-VIOLENCE AND MORAL STRENGTH OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT AGAINST VILIFICATION CAMPAIGNS
The Supreme Court of India today dismissed a case filed by National Council of Civil Liberties, an Ahmedabad based NGO, against Narmada Bachao Andolan for being vague and baseless. The bench of Justice C.K. Thakker and Altamas Kabir, in their judgement, ruled that there is no case for CBI enquiry against NBA and ordered the petitioner organization to pay Rs- 5000/- as a symbolic cost for the expense on the case, to NBA.
This is a great moral victory and triumph of truth that is an apt reply to the vilification campaign against NBA. NCCL had issued many advertisements and statements defaming NBA all over the country before filing this case. The allegation in the case included that of illegal foreign funding, violence and sedition, an activity obstructing development. Adv. Indira Jaisingh and Adv. Sanjay Parikh pleaded with all strength and commitment. The court, through this judgement, has upheld democratic values as also the citizen’s, the affected people’s right to agitate against injustice imposed in the name of development. Attempts to defame and demoralise people’s movements with false and baseless allegations should now be put to rest. The UPA government too had supported NBA through its affidavit in the case. They submitted to the court a letter written in 2003 by the then Home Minister for State to Narendra Modi, declaring that no illegal financial deal was found in the enquiry against NBA and its supporters.
We all are glad that the apex court has dismissed this case for having no case made for a CBI enquiry on NBA activities. The petitioner had earlier tried to spread news, which distortedly indicated to the nation that enquiry was demanded and ordered.
NBA has to continue its agitations and movements for human rights and democratic privileges due for common people – dalit, adivasis, farmers, labourers and all citizens, in the context of prevented vision and undemocratic planning of development, with unjustifiable social, environmental impact on the displaced and on our natural wealth.
OUR SATYAGRAHA IN THE NARMADA VALLEY, PROTESTING AGAINST DISPLACEMENT AND SUBMERGENCE WITHOUT REHABILITATION, WOULD BEGIN IN BADWANI, MADHYA PRADESH FROM TOMORROW, 11TH OF JULY AND IN VILLAGE CHIMALKHEDI (ON THE RIVER BANK), NANDURBAR DISTRICT, MAHARASHTRA, FROM JULY 17TH.
The Dharna of Omkareshwar- Indira Sagar dam-affected people and the 35 days long fast by leading activists Chittaroopa Palit and Bhagwan Mukati, continue in Bhopal till date.
Medha Patkar Ashish Mandloi Chetan Salve Kamla Yadav
Update 04 July 2007
River Narmada is in spate. The water in the reservoir has risen to a level of 123.5 metres and above at the Sardar Sarovar dam site. The villages in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra (Manibeli to Bhadal), Jhabua district of M.P. (Akkadia to Kakrana) and few in Gujarat (Antras, Makatkheda, and others where adivasis are still residing) are threatened of further submergence than last year if water reaches 127 metres and above. Houses in Manibeli, Bamani, Chimalkhedi, Sikka, Keli in Maharashtra and those in Jalsindhi, Anjanwada, and Bhitada to Kakrana can come under submergence when the families are still not allotted land as per entitlement and no residential site with amenities is ready for them, as yet. These families who are already destitute are facing torturous situation with the roaring reservoir water cutting off all their communication channels and no relief has been provided by the concerned Governments.
People have continued to stay on top of the hills where three of our Jeevanshalas (Schools of Life) also are shifted since the farms, houses and schools got drowned since 1994 till last year. The Government of Maharashtra too has not cared to provide land and sites during last one year in spite of accepting that more than 1100 families reside in the submerged villages and hundreds of others (as per one estimate) are in the hamlets and villages, which are to be marooned.
M.P. Government's record is the worst. The adivasis have never got a response even when their communities have gone under water. Those shifted to Gujarat have faced difficulties, many have had to return back but none is resettled in M.P. even though they have a right and demand to do so.
The Madhya Pradesh Government is also least bothered about the 25,000 families in 177 villages (declared 19,000 and the rest undeclared claimants), which can as per the official reports, be affected by the submergence this year. The unexpectedly high torrential rains have shown the levels of water rising in the villages without Narmada reservoir water entering the fields and houses. What would be their fate when the water rise to 130 metres at the dam site, is to be imagined? With 1000 to 5000 population each in many of these villages, the hustling-bustling life is under a severe threat.
The valley is facing enormous difficulties, almost a torturous situation, due to the impacts. River Narmada was almost dry till 2 days back when the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar were filled. Thousands of oustees of these dams who never questioned the Dams before and sacrificed their lives on the altar of development are in the path of agitation today, in Bhopal. The fast has entered 28th day while the sit-in has been on for more than a month. They didn't even get what the SSP-oustees have, due to the struggle. And yet the two dams are filled to the maximum when the crops downstream, in the SSP-affected region needed irrigation. The river was almost dead. Then came the rainfall … upon the lands but also houses and it drowned and doomed the communities … houses in villages … hundreds of motor pumps too. The cycle of drought and flood is now to recur almost every year! Struggle will again be necessary to compel the Government to regulate waters to be stored and released from the cascade of dams.
The basic human issue, however, is land. There is no land and the extra cash, as "Special Rehabilitation Package" has resulted not in rehabilitation but corruption (see the update issued on July 3rd). The adivasis in the Satpura and Vindhya ranges haven't touch cash and they are insisting on land. The private land located by the people with NBA support in Nimad area is demanded and should be allotted.
The heated dialogue between the Collector, Jhabua and a delegation of about 100 adivasis on June 28th following 2 sit-ins since January 2007 led to the officials accepting offering and allotting land … but to only 10% of the families since the rest are either not declared or allotted ex-parte land which is neither seen nor accepted.
Not less than 2 - 2.5 lakh people in the submergence area thus are stranded. With no rehabilitation in sight, the claims of benefits from Sardar Sarovar Project are also exposed. The power as well as irrigation benefits attained at today's dam height are 10 – 20% of the expected. Moreover while water share of Kutch is diverted to Gandhinagar, instead of 0.2 MAF, 1 MAF of water is to be given to industries. It's a gross betrayal of the drought-affected within Gujarat and of the two states who are sacrificing their own adivasis and farmers.
Gujarat however is being taught a lesson … whose water is flowing waste? It's that fallen on the land of Mahatma Gandhi who had warned us of planning to fulfill the need but not to live for greed. The state of Gujarat will repent forever if the land can't accommodate water even after destroying other's land and resources. Narmada the oldest of the rivers and the culture beckons you and we all have to learn from the 'Satyagraha' that is on since last 2 decades.
There is no going back … but looking forward to face the strongest ever challenge this very monsoon. The dam water has risen to 124 metres … and is rising still. Tomorrow the first protest of this monsoon in Badwani will raise a voice … of the Valley, supporting the struggle in Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar and linking those with Sardar Sarovar.
Ashish Mandloi Kamla Yadav Yogini Khanolkar Medha Patkar